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Accession No *> ^ £ -a | 





Photographed in 1869 — his last sitting- 





With Photogravure Portraits 

New York 

Doubleday, Page & Company 



Copyright, 1904, by 

Doubleday, Page & Company 

Published, October, 1904 

To My Daughters 
Anne Carter 

Mary Custis 



Services in the United States Army 3 

Captain Lee, of the Engineers, a hero to his child — The 
family pets — Home from the Mexican War — Three years 
in Baltimore — Superintendent of the West Point Military 
Academy — Lieutenant - Colonel of Second Cavalry — Sup- 
presses "John Brown Raid" at Harper's Ferry — Commands 
the Department of Taxes. 

The Confederate General 24 

Resigns from Colonelcy of First United States Cavalry — 
Motives for this step — Chosen to command Virginia forces — 
Anxiety about his wife, family, and possessions — Chief ad- 
viser to President Davis — Battle of Manassas — Military 
operations in West Virginia — Letter to State Governor. 


Letters to Wife and Daughters 48 

From Camp on Sewell's Mountain — Quotation from Colonel 
Taylor's book — From Professor Wm. P. Trent — From Mr. 
Davis's Memorial Address — Defense of Southern ports — 
Christmas, 1861 — The General visits his father's grave — 
Commands, under the President, all the armies of the Con- 
federate States. 


Army Life of Robert the Younger 69 

Volunteer in Rockbridge Artillery — "Four Years with 

General Lee" quoted — Meetings between father and son — 



Personal characteristics of the General — Death of his daughter 
Annie — His son Robert raised from the ranks — The horses, 
"Grace Darling" and "Traveller" — Fredericksburg — Freeing 



The Army of Northern Virginia 91 

The General's sympathy for his suffering soldiers — Chancel- 
lorsville — Death of "Stonewall" Jackson — General Fitzhugh 
Lee wounded and captured — Escape of his brother Robert — 
Gettysburg — Religious revival — Infantry review — Unsatis- 
factory commissariat. 

The Winter of 1863-4 112 

The Lee family in Richmond — The General's letters to 
them from Camps Rappahannock and Rapidan — Death of 
Mrs. Fitzhugh Lee — Preparations to meet General Grant — 
The Wilderness — Spottsylvania Court House — Death of 
General Stuart — General Lee's illness. 


Fronting the Army of the Potomac 128 

Battle of Cold Harbour — Siege of Petersburg — The General 
intrusts a mission to his son Robert — Battle of the Crater — 
Grant crosses the James River General Long's pen- 
picture of Lee — Knitting socks for the soldiers — A Christmas 
dinner — Incidents of camp life. 


The Surrender 144 

Fort Fisher captured — Lee made Commander-in-Chief — • 
Battle of Five Forks — Retreat of the Army of Northern 
Virginia — The General's farewell to his men — His reception 
in Richmond after the surrender — President Davis hears the 
news — Lee's visitors — His son Robert turns farmer. 



A Private Citizen 162 

Lee's conception of the part — His influence exerted toward 
the restoration of Virginia — He visits old friends throughout 
the country — Receives offers of positions — Compares notes 
with the Union General Hunter — Longs for a country home — 
Finds one at "Derwent," near Cartersville. 

President of Washington College 179 

Patriotic motives for acceptance of trust — Condition of 
college — The General's arrival at Lexington — He prepares 
for the removal of his family to that city — Advice to Robert, 
Junior — Trip to "Bremo" on private canal-boat — Mrs. 
Lee's invalidism. 

The Idol of the South 198 

Photographs and autographs in demand — The General's 
interest in young people — His happy home life — Labours at 
Washington College — He gains financial aid for it — Worsley's 
translation of Homer dedicated to him — Tributes from other 
English scholars. 

Lee's Opinion Upon the Late War 218 

His intention to write the history of his Virginia cam- 
paigns — Called before a committee of Congress — Preaches 
patience and silence to the South — Shuns controversy and 
publicity — Correspondence with an Englishman, Herbert C. 


Family Affairs 235 

The General writes to his sons — To his wife at Rockbridge 

Baths — He joins her there about once a week — Distinguished 

and undistinguished callers at his Lexington home — He 

advocates early hours — His fondness for animals. 



An Ideal Father 252 

Letters to Mildred Lee — To Robert — To Fitzhugh — Inter- 
viewed by Swinton, historian of the Army of the Potomac — 
Improvement in grounds and buildings of Washington 
College — Punctuality a prominent trait of its President — A 
strong supporter of the Y. M. C. A. 


Mountain Rides 264 

An incident about ''Traveller" — The General's love for 
children — His friendship for Ex-President Davis — A ride with 
his daughter to the Peaks of Otter — Mildred Lee's narrative — 
Mrs. Lee at the White Sulphur Springs — The great attention 
paid her husband there — His idea of life. 


An Adviser of Young Men 280 

Lee's policy as college president — His advice on agricultural 

matters — His affection for his prospective daughter-in-law — 

Fitzhugh's wedding — The General's ovation at Petersburg — 

His personal interest in the students under his care. 


The Reconstruction Period 299 

The General believes in the enforcement of law and order — 

His moral influence in the college — Playful humour shown in 

his letters — His opinion of negro labour — Mr. Davis's trial — 

Letter to Mrs. Fitzhugh Lee — Intercourse with Faculty. 


Mrs. R. E. Lee 318 

Goes to Warm Springs for rheumatism — Her daughter 

Mildred takes typhoid there — Removes to Hot Springs — 

Her husband's devotion — Visit of Fitzhugh and bride to 

Lexington — Miss Jones, a would-be benefactor of Washington 


College — Fate of Washington relics belonging to Mrs. Lee's 


Lee's Letters to His Sons 339 

The building of Robert's house — The General as a railroad 

delegate — Lionised in Baltimore — Calls on President Grant — ■ 

Visits Alexandria — Declines to be interviewed — Interested 

in his grandson — The Washington portraits. 

The New Home in Lexington 357 

Numerous guests — Further sojourns at different Baths — 
Death of the General's brother, Smith Lee — Visits to "Ravens- 
worth" and "The White House" — Meetings with interesting 
people at White Sulphur Springs — Death of Professor Preston. 


Failing Health 376 

The General declines lucrative positions in New York 

and Atlanta — He suffers from an obstinate cold — Local 

gossip — He is advised to go South in the spring of 1870 — 

Desires to visit his daughter Annie's grave. 

The Southern Trip 388 

Letters to Mrs. Lee from Richmond and Savannah — 
From Brandon — Agnes Lee's account of her father's greetings 
from old friends and old soldiers — Wilmington and Norfolk 
do him honour — Visits to Fitzhugh and Robert in their 


A Round of Visits 412 

Baltimore — Alexandria — A war-talk with Cousin Cassius 

Lee — " Ravensworth " — Letter to Doctor Buckler declining 


invitation to Europe — To General Cooper — To Mrs. Lee from 
the Hot Springs — Tired of public places — Preference for 
country life. 


Last Days 431 

Letter to his wife — To Mr. Tagart — Obituary notice in 

"Personal Reminiscences of General Robert E. Lee" — Mrs. 

Lee's account of his death. 


General Robert E. Lee 

Photographed in 1869 — his last Sitting Frontispiece 


Robert E. Lee 

Photographed in 1850 or 185 1, when he was 
Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel of Engineers - 10 

General Robert E. Lee 

Photographed in 1862 or 1863 88 

Valentine's Recumbent Figure of Lee 

Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Va. 434 






Services in the United States Army 

captain lee, of the engineers, a hero to his child 

the family pets home from the mexican war 

three years in baltimore superintendent of 

the west point military academy — lieutenant- 
colonel of second cavalry — suppresses " john 
brown raid" at harper's ferry — commands the 
department of texas 

THE first vivid recollection I have of my father is 
his arrival at Arlington, after his return from the 
Mexican War. I can remember some events of 
which he seemed a part, when we lived at Fort Hamilton, 
New York, about 1846, but they are more like dreams, 
very indistinct and disconnected — naturally so, for I was 
at that time about three years old. But the day of his 
return to Arlington, after an absence of more than two 
years, I have always remembered. I had a frock or blouse 
of some light wash material, probably cotton, a blue 
ground dotted over with white diamond figures. Of this 
I was very proud, and wanted to wear it on this impor- 
tant occasion. Eliza, my "mammy," objecting, we had 
a contest and I won. Clothed in this, my very best, and 
with my hair freshly curled in long golden ringlets, I 



went down into the large hall where the whole household 
was assembled, eagerly greeting my father, who had just 
arrived on horseback from Washington, having missed 
in some way the carriage which had been sent for him. 

There was visiting us at this time Mrs. Lippitt, a friend 
of my mother's, with her little boy, Armistead, about 
my age and size, also with long curls. Whether he wore 
as handsome a suit as mine I cannot remember, but he 
and I were left together in the background, feeling rather 
frightened and awed. After a moment's greeting to 
those surrounding him, my father pushed through the 
crowd, exclaiming: 

"Where is my little boy?" 

He then took up in his arms and kissed — not me, his 
own child in his best frock with clean face and well- 
arranged curls — but my little playmate, Armistead ! 
I remember nothing more of any circumstances connected 
with that time, save that I was shocked and humiliated. 
I have no doubt that he was at once informed of his 
mistake and made ample amends to me. 

A letter from my father to his brother Captain S. S. 
Lee, United States Navy, dated "Arlington, June 30, 
1848," tells of his coming home: 

"Here I am once again, my dear Smith, perfectly 
surrounded by Mary and her precious children, who 
seem to devote themselves to staring at the furrows in 
my face and the white hairs in my head. It is not sur- 
prising that I am hardly recognisable to some of the 
young eyes around me and perfectly unknown to the 
youngest. But some of the older ones gaze with aston- 
ishment and wonder at me, and seem at a loss to reconcile 
what they see and what was pictured in their imagina- 
tions. I find them, too, much grown, and all well, and 
I have much cause for thankfulness, and gratitude to 
that good God who has once more united us." 


My next recollection of my father is in Baltimore, 
while we were on a visit to his sister, Mrs. Marshall, the 
wife of Judge Marshall. I remember being down on the 
wharves, where my father had taken me to see the landing 
of a mustang pony which he had gotten for me in Mexico, 
and which had been shipped from Vera Cruz to Baltimore 
in a sailing vessel. I was all eyes for the pony, and a very 
miserable, sad-looking object he was. From his long 
voyage, cramped quarters and unavoidable lack of 
grooming, he was rather a disappointment to me, but I 
soon got over all that. As I grew older, and was able 
to ride and appreciate him, he became the joy and pride 
of my life. I was taught to ride on him by Jim Connally, 
the faithful Irish servant of my father, who had been 
with him in Mexico. Jim used often to tell me, in his 
quizzical way, that he and "Santa Anna" (the pony's 
name) were the first men on the walls of Chepultepec. 
This pony was pure white, five years old and about 
fourteen hands high. For his inches, he was as good a 
horse as I ever have seen. While we lived in Baltimore, 
he and "Grace Darling," my father's favourite mare, 
were members of our family. 

Grace Darling was a chestnut of fine size and of great 
power, which he had bought in Texas on his way out to 
Mexico, her owner having died on the march out. She 
was with him during the entire campaign, and was shot 
seven times ; at least, as a little fellow I used to brag about 
that number of bullets being in her, and since I could 
point out the scars of each one, I presume it was so. 
My father was very much attached to and proud of her, 
always petting her and talking to her in a loving way, 
when he rode her or went to see her in her stall. Of her 
he wrote on his return home : 


"I only arrived yesterday, after a long journey up the 
Mississippi, which route I was induced to take, for the 
better accommodation of my horse, as I wished to spare 
her as much annoyance and fatigue as possible, she 
already having undergone so much suffering in my 
service. I landed her at Wheeling and left her to come 
over with Jim." 

Santa Anna was found lying cold and dead in the park 
at Arlington one morning in the winter of '60-61 . Grace 
Darling was taken in the spring of '62 from the White 
House * by some Federal quartermaster, when McClellan 
occupied that place as his base of supplies during his 
attack on Richmond. When we lived in Baltimore, 
I was greatly struck one day by hearing two ladies who 
were visiting us saying: 

"Everybody and everything — his family, his friends, 
his horse, and his dog — loves Colonel Lee." 

The dog referred to was a black-and-tan terrier named 
"Spec," very bright and intelligent and really a member 
of the family, respected and beloved by ourselves and 
well known to all who knew us. My father picked up 
his mother in the "Narrows" while crossing from Fort 
Hamilton to the fortifications opposite on Staten Island. 
She had doubtless fallen overboard from some passing 
vessel and had drifted out of sight before her absence 
had been discovered. He rescued her and took her 
home, where she was welcomed by his children and made 
much of. She was a handsome little thing, with cropped 
ears and a short tail. My father named her "Dart." 
She was a fine ratter, and with the assistance of a Maltese 

* My brother's place on the Pamunkey River, where the mare had 
been sent for safe keeping. 


cat, also a member of the family, the many rats which 
infested the house and stables were driven away or 
destroyed. She and the cat were fed out of the same 
plate, but Dart was not allowed to begin the meal until 
the cat had finished. 

Spec was born at Fort Hamilton and was the joy of us 
children, our pet and companion. My father would not 
allow his tail and ears to be cropped. When he grew up, 
he accompanied us everywhere and was in the habit of 
going into church with the family. As some of the little 
ones allowed their devotions to be disturbed by Spec's 
presence, my father determined to leave him at home on 
those occasions. So the next Sunday morning, he was 
sent up to the front room of the second story. After the 
family had left for church he contented himself for awhile 
looking out of the window, which was open, it being 
summer time. Presently impatience overcame his judg- 
ment and he jumped to the ground, landed safely not- 
withstanding the distance, joined the family just as they 
reached the church, and went in with them as usual, 
much to the joy of the children. After that he was allowed 
to go to church whenever he wished. My father was 
very fond of him., and loved to talk to him and about 
him as if he were really one of us. In a letter to my 
mother, dated Fort Hamilton, January 18, 1846, when 
she and her children were on a visit to Arlington, he 
thus speaks of him: 

". . . I am very solitary, and my only company 
is my dog and cats. But 'Spec' has become so jealous 
now that he will hardly let me look at the cats. He 
seems to be afraid that I am going off from him, and 
never lets me stir without him. Lies down in the office 
from eight to four without moving, and turns himself 


before the fire as the side from it becomes cold. I 
catch him sometimes sitting up looking at me so intently 
that I am for a moment startled. . . ." 

In a letter from Mexico written a year later — December 
25, '46, to my mother, he says: 

". . . Can't you cure poor 'Spec' Cheer him 
up — take him to walk with you and tell the children to 
cheer him up. ..." 

In another letter from Mexico to his eldest boy, just 
after the capture of Vera Cruz, he sends this message to 
Spec. . . . 

" Tell him I wish he was here with me. He would have 
been of great service in telling me when I was coming 
upon the Mexicans. When I was reconnoitering around 
Vera Cruz, their dogs frequently told me by barking 
when I was approaching them too nearly. . . ." 

When he returned to Arlington from Mexico, Spec was 
the first to recognise him, and the extravagance of his 
demonstrations of delight left no doubt that he knew 
at once his kind master and loving friend, though he had 
been absent three years. Sometime during our residence 
in Baltimore, Spec disappeared, and we never knew 
his fate. 

From that early time I began to be impressed with 
my father's character, as compared with other men. 
Every member of the household respected, revered and 
loved him as a matter of course, but it began to dawn on 
me that every one else with whom I was thrown held 
him high in their regard. At forty -five years of age he 
was active, strong, and as handsome as he had ever been. 
I never remember his being ill. I presume he was in- 


disposed at times ; but no impressions of that kind remain. 
He was always bright and gay with us little folk, romping, 
playing, and joking with us. With the older children, he 
was just as companionable, and I have seen him join my 
elder brothers and their friends when they would try 
their powers at a high jump put up in our yard. The 
two younger children he petted a great deal, and our 
greatest treat was to get into his bed in the morning and 
lie close to him, listening while he talked to us in his 
bright, entertaining way. This custom we kept up until 
I was ten years old and over. Although he was so joy- 
ous and familiar with us, he was very firm on all proper 
occasions, never indulged us in anything that was not 
good for us, and exacted the most implicit obedience. 
I always knew that it was impossible to disobey my 
father. I felt it in me, I never thought why, but was 
perfectly sure when he gave an order that it had to be 
obeyed. My mother I could sometimes circumvent, and 
at times took liberties with her orders, construing them 
to suit myself ; but exact obedience to every mandate of 
my father was a part of my life and being at that time. 
He was very fond of having his hands tickled, and, what 
was still more curious, it pleased and delighted him to 
take off his slippers and place his feet in our laps in order 
to have them tickled. Often, as little things, after 
romping all day, the enforced sitting would be too much 
for us, and our drowsiness would soon show itself in con- 
tinued nods. Then, to arouse us, he had a way of stir- 
ring us up with his foot — laughing heartily at and with 
us. He would often tell us the most delightful stories, 
and then there was no nodding. Sometimes, however, 
our interest in his wonderful tales became so engrossing 
that we would forget to do our duty — when he would 


declare, "No tickling, no story!" When we were a 
little older, our elder sister told us one winter the ever- 
delightful " Lady of the Lake." Of course, she told it in 
prose and arranged it to suit our mental capacity. Our 
father was generally in his corner by the fire, most prob- 
ably with a foot in either the lap of myself or youngest 
sister — the tickling going on briskly — and would come 
in at different points of the tale and repeat line after 
line of the poem — much to our disapproval — but to 
his great enjoyment. 

In January, 1849, Captain Lee was one of a board of 
army officers appointed to examine the coasts of Florida 
and its defenses and to recommend locations for new 
fortifications. In April he was assigned to the duty of 
the construction of Fort Carroll, in the Patapsco River 
below Baltimore. He was there, I think, for three years, 
and lived in a house on Madison Street, three doors 
above Biddle. I used to go down with him to the Fort 
quite often. We went to the wharf in a " bus, " and there 
we were met by a boat with two oarsmen, who rowed 
us down to Sollers Point, where I was generally left under 
the care of the people who lived there, while my father 
went over to the Fort, a short distance out in the. river. 
These days were very happy ones for me. The wharves, 
the shipping, the river, the boat and oarsmen, and the 
country dinner we had at the house at Sollers Point, all 
made a strong impression on me ; but above all I remem- 
ber my father, his gentle, loving care of me, his bright 
talk, his stories, his maxims and teachings. I was very 
proud of him and of the evident respect for and trust in 
him every one showed. These impressions, obtained at 
that time, have never left me. He was a great favourite 
in Baltimore, as he was everywhere, especially with 

Ling going on briskly — an 
ent points of the tale and repeat line 

to our disapproval — but 

board of 

■ Baltimore, i 

< , ° 3 Street 

Photographed m iSw or 'ci. wr 

otographed in 1850 or '51, when he was 
Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel of Engineers 

. id the 

Point, all 

ill I rem 



ladies and little children. When he and my mother 
went out in the evening to some entertainment, we were 
often allowed to sit up and see them off ; my father, as I 
remember, always in full uniform, always ready and 
waiting for my mother, who was generally late. He 
would chide her gently, in a playful way and with a 
bright smile. He would then bid us good-bye, and I 
would go to sleep with this beautiful picture in my mind, 
the golden epaulets and all — chiefly the epaulets. 

In Baltimore, I went to my first school, that of a Mr. 
Rollins on Mulberry Street, and I remember-how interested 
my father was in my studies, my failures, and my little 
triumphs. Indeed, he was so always, as long as I was at 
school and college, and I only wish that all of the kind, 
sensible, useful letters he wrote me had been preserved. 

My memory as to the move from Baltimore, which 
occurred in 1852, is very dim. I think the family went 
to Arlington to remain until my father had arranged for 
our removal to the new home at West Point. 

My recollection of my father as Superintendent of the 
West Point Military Academy is much more distinct. 
He lived in the house which is still occupied by the 
Superintendent. It was built of stone, large and roomy, 
with gardens, stables, and pasture -lots. We, the two 
youngest children, enjoyed it all. "Grace Darling" 
and "Santa Anna" were there with us, and many a fine 
ride did I have with my father in the afternoons, when, 
released from his office, he would mount his old mare and, 
with Santa Anna carrying me by his side, take a five- 
or ten-mile trot. Though the pony cantered delight- 
fully, he would make me keep him in a trot, saying play- 
fully that the hammering I sustained was good for me. 
We rode the dragoon-seat, no posting, and until I became 


accustomed to it I used to be very tired by the time I 
got back. 

My father was the most punctual man I ever knew. 
He was always ready for family prayers, for meals, and 
met every engagement, social or business, at the moment. 
He expected all of us to be the same, and taught us the 
use and necessity of forming such habits for the con- 
venience of all concerned. I never knew him late for 
Sunday service at the Post Chapel. He used to appear 
some minutes before the rest of us, in uniform, jokingly 
rallying my mother for being late, and for forgetting 
something at the last moment. When he could wait no 
longer for her, he would say that he was off and would 
march along to church by himself, or with any of the 
children who were ready. There he sat very straight — 
well up the middle aisle — and, as I remember, always 
became very sleepy, and sometimes even took a little nap 
during the sermon. At that time, this drowsiness of 
my father's was something awful to me, inexplicable. 
I know it was very hard for me to keep awake, and 
frequently I did not; but why he, who to my mind 
could do everything that was right, without any effort, 
should sometimes be overcome, I could not understand, 
and did not try to do so. 

It was against the rules that the cadets should go 
beyond certain limits without permission. Of course 
they did go sometimes, and when caught were given 
quite a number of " demerits." My father was riding out 
one afternoon with me, and, while rounding a turn in the 
mountain road with a deep woody ravine on one side, 
we came suddenly upon three cadets far beyond the 
limits. They immediately leaped over a low wall on 
the side of the road and disappeared from our view. 


We rode on for a minute in silence ; then my father said : 
" Did you know those young men ? But no ; if you did, 
don't say so. I wish boys would do what is right, it 
would be so much easier for all parties ! " 

He knew he would have to report them, but, not being 
sure of who they were, I presume he wished to give 
them the benefit of the doubt. At any rate, I never 
heard any more about it. One of the three asked me 
next day if my father had recognised them, and I told 
him what had occurred. 

By this time I had become old enough to have a room 
to myself, and, to encourage me in being useful and prac- 
tical, my father made me attend to it, just as the cadets 
had to do with their quarters in barracks and in camp. 
He at first even went through the form of inspecting it, 
to see if I had performed my duty properly, and I think 
I enjoyed this until the novelty wore off. However, 
I was kept at it, becoming in time very proficient, and 
the knowledge so acquired has been of great use to me 
all through life. 

My father always encouraged me in every healthy out- 
door exercise and sport. He taught me to ride, constantly 
giving me minute instructions, with the reasons for them. 
He gave me my first sled, and sometimes used to come out 
where we boys were coasting to look on. He gave me 
my first pair of skates, and placed me in the care of a 
trustworthy person, inquiring regularly how I progressed. 
It was the same with swimming, which he was very anx- 
ious I should learn in a proper manner. Professor 
Bailey had a son about my age, now himself a professor 
at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, who 
became my great chum. I took my first lesson in the 
water with him, under the direction and supervision of 


his father. My father inquired constantly how I was 
getting along, and made me describe exactly my method 
and stroke, explaining to me what he considered the 
best way to swim, and the reasons therefor. 

I went to a day-school at West Point, and had always 
a sympathetic helper in my father. Often he would 
come into the room where I studied at night, and, 
sitting down by me, would show me how to overcome a 
hard sentence in my Latin reader or a difficult sum in 
arithmetic, not by giving me the translation of the 
troublesome sentence or the answer to the sum, but by 
showing me, step by step, the way to the right solutions. 
He was very patient, very loving, very good to me, and 
I remember trying my best to please him in my studies. 
When I was able to bring home a good report from my 
teacher, he was greatly pleased, and showed it in his 
eye and voice, but he always insisted that I should get 
the "maximum," that he would never be perfectly satis- 
fied with less. That I did sometimes win it, deservedly, 
I know was due to his judicious and wise method of ex- 
citing my ambition and perseverance. I have endeav- 
oured to show how fond my father was of his children, 
and as the best picture I can offer of his loving, tender 
devotion to us all, I give here a letter from him written 
about this time to one of his daughters who was staying 
with our grandmother, Mrs. Custis, at Arlington: 

"West Point, February 25, 1853. 
"My Precious Annie : I take advantage of your gracious 
permission to write to you, and there is no telling how 
far my feelings might carry me were I not limited by 
the conveyance furnished by the Mim's* letter, which 
lies before me, and which must, the Mim says so, go in 
this morning's mail. But my limited time does not 

* His pet name for my mother. 


diminish my affection for you, Annie, nor prevent my 
thinking of you and wishing for you. I long to see you 
through the dilatory nights. At dawn when I rise, and 
all day, my thoughts revert to you in expressions that 
you cannot hear or I repeat. I hope you will always 
appear to me as you are now painted on my heart, and 
that you will endeavour to improve and so conduct your- 
self as to make you happy and me joyful all our lives. 
Diligent and earnest attention to all your duties can only 
accomplish this. I am told you are growing very tall, 
and I hope very straight. I do not know what the 
Cadets will say if the Superintendent's children do not 
practice what he demands of them. They will naturally 
say he had better attend to his own before he corrects 
other people's children, and as he permits his to stoop it 
is hard he will not allow them. You and Agnes * must 
not, therefore, bring me into discredit with my young 
friends, or give them reason to think that I require more 
of them than of my own. I presume your mother has 
told all about us, our neighbours and our affairs. And 
indeed she may have done that and not said much 
either, so far as I know. But we are all well and have 
much to be grateful for. To-morrow we anticipate the 
pleasure of your brother's f company, which is always 
a source of pleasure to us. It is the only time we see 
him, except when the Corps come under my view at some 
of their exercises, when my eye is sure to distinguish him 
among his comrades and follow him over the plain. 
Give much love to your dear grandmother, grandfather, 
Agnes, Miss Sue, Lucretia, and all friends, including the 
servants. Write sometimes, and think always of your 

Affectionate father, 

R. E. Lee." 

In a letter to my mother written many years previous 
to this time, he says : 

* His third daughter. 
t His son, Custis. 


"I pray God to watch over and direct our efforts in 
guarding our dear little son. . . . Oh, what pleasure 
I lose in being separated from my children ! Nothing 
can compensate me for that. . . ." 

In another letter of about the same time : 

" You do not know how much I have missed you and 
the children, my dear Mary. To be alone in a crowd is 
very solitary. In the woods, I feel sympathy with the 
trees and birds, in whose company I take delight, but 
experience no pleasure in a strange crowd. I hope you 
are all well and will continue so, and, therefore, must 
again urge you to be very prudent and careful of those 
dear children. If I could only get a squeeze at that 
little fellow, turning up his sweet mouth to ' keese baba ! ' 
You must not let him run wild in my absence, and will 
have to exercise firm authority over all of them. This 
will not require severity or even strictness, but constant 
attention and an unwavering course. Mildness and for- 
bearance will strengthen their affection for you, while it 
will maintain your control over them." 

In a letter to one of his sons he writes as follows : 

" I cannot go to bed, my dear son, without writing you 
a few lines, to thank you for your letter, which gave me 
great pleasure. . . . You and Custis must take 
great care of your kind mother and dear sisters when 
your father is dead. To do that you must learn to be 
good. Be true, kind and generous, and pray earnestly 
to God to enable you to keep His Commandments ' and 
walk in the same all the days of your life.' I hope to 
come on soon to see that little baby you have got to 
show me. You must give her a kiss for me, and one to 
all the children, to your mother, and grandmother." 

The expression of such sentiments as these was common 
to my father all through his life, and to show that it was 


all children, and not his own little folk alone that charmed 
and fascinated him, I quote from a letter to my mother : 

". . . I saw a number of little girls all dressed up 
in their white frocks and pantalets, their hair plaited 
and tied up with ribbons, running and chasing each other 
in all directions. I counted twenty-three nearly the 
same size. As I drew up my horse to admire the spec- 
tacle, a man appeared at the door with the twenty-fourth 
in his arms. 

" ' My friend, ' said I, ' are all these your children ? ' 

" 'Yes,' he said, 'and there are nine more in the house, 
and this is the youngest. ' 

"Upon further inquiry, however, I found that they were 
only temporarily his, and that they were invited to a 
party at his house. He said, however, he had been 
admiring them before I came up, and just wished that he 
had a million of dollars, and that they were all his in 
reality. I do not think the eldest exceeded seven or 
eight years old. It was the prettiest sight I have seen 
in the west, and, perhaps, in my life. . . ." 

As Superintendent of the Military Academy at West 
Point my father had to entertain a good deal, and I re- 
member w T ell how handsome and grand he looked in uni- 
form, how genial and bright, how considerate of every- 
body's comfort of mind and body. He w T as always a 
great favourite with the ladies, especially the young 
ones. His fine presence, his gentle, courteous manners 
and kindly smile put them at once at ease with him. 

Among the cadets at this time were my eldest brother, 
Custis, who graduated first in his class in 1854, and my 
father's nephew, Fitz. Lee, a third classman, besides 
other relatives and friends. Saturday being a half- 
holiday for the cadets, it was the custom for all social 
events in which they were to take part to be placed on 


that afternoon or evening. Nearly every Saturday a 
number of these young men were invited to our house to 
tea, or supper, for it was a good, substantial meal. The 
misery of some of these lads, owing to embarrassment, 
possibly from awe of the Superintendent, was pitiable 
and evident even to me, a boy of ten or eleven years old. 
But as soon as my father got command, as it were, of the 
situation, one could see how quickly most of them were 
put at their ease. He would address himself to the task 
of making them feel comfortable and at home, and his 
genial manner and pleasant ways at once succeeded. 

In the spring of '53 my grandmother, Mrs. Custis, 
died. This was the first death in our immediate family. 
She was very dear to us, and was admired, esteemed 
and loved by all who had ever known her. Bishop 
Meade, of Virginia, writes of her : 

"Mrs. Mary Custis, of Arlington, the wife of Mr. 
Washington Custis, grandson of Mrs. General Washington, 
was the daughter of Mr. William Fitzhugh, of Chatham. 
Scarcely is there a Christian lady in our land more 
honoured than she was, and none more loved and 
esteemed. For good sense, prudence, sincerity, benevo- 
lence, unaffected piety, disinterested zeal in every good 
work, deep humarity and retiring modesty — for all the 
virtues which adorn the wife, the mother, and the friend 
— I never knew her superior." 

In a letter written to my mother soon after this sad 
event my father says : 

" May God give you strength to enable you to bear and 
say, 'His will be done.' She has gone from all trouble, 
care and sorrow to a holy immortality, there to rejoice 
and praise forever the God and Saviour she so long and 
truly served. Let that be our comfort and that our con- 


solation. May our death be like hers, and may we meet 
in happiness in Heaven." 

In another letter about the same time he writes : 

" She was to me all that a mother could be, and I yield 
to none in admiration for her character, love for her 
virtues, and veneration for her memory." 

At this time, my father's family and friends persuaded 
him to allow R. S. Weir, Professor of Painting and 
Drawing at the Academy, to paint his portrait. As far 
as I remember, there was only one sitting, and the artist 
had to finish it from memory or from the glimpses he 
obtained of his subject in the regular course of their 
daily lives at "The Point." This picture shows my 
father in the undress uniform of a Colonel of Engineers, * 
and many think it a very good likeness - . To me, the 
expression of strength peculiar to his face is wanting, and 
the mouth fails to portray that sweetness of disposition 
so characteristic of his countenance. Still, it was like 
him at that time. My father never could bear to have 
his picture taken, and there are no likenesses of him that 
really give his sweet expression. Sitting for a picture 
was such a serious business with him that he never 
could "look pleasant." 

In 1855 my father was appointed to the lieutenant- 
colonelcy of the Second Cavalry, one of the two regiments 
just raised. He left West Point to enter upon his new 
duties, and his family went to Arlington to live. Dur- 
ing the fall and winter of 1855 and '56, the Second 
Cavalry was recruited and organised at Jefferson Bar- 
racks, Missouri, under the direction of Colonel Lee, and 
in the following spring was marched to western Texas, 

* His appointment of Superintendent of the Military Academy 
carried with it the temporary rank of Colonel of Engineers. 


where it was assigned the duty of protecting the settlers 
in that wild country. 

I did not see my father again until he came to my 
mother at Arlington after the death of her father, G. W. 
P. Custis, in October, 1857. He took charge of my 
mother's estate after her father's death, and commenced 
at once to put it in order — not an easy task, as it con- 
sisted of several plantations and many negroes. I was 
at a boarding-school, after the family returned to Arling- 
ton, and saw my father only during the holidays, if he 
happened to be at home. He was always fond of farming, 
and took great interest in the improvements he immedi- 
ately began at Arlington relating to the cultivation of 
the farm, to the buildings, roads, fences, fields, and 
stock, so that in a very short time the appearance of 
everything on the estate was improved. He often said 
that he longed for the time when he could have a farm of 
his own, where he could end his days in quiet and peace, 
interested in the care and improvement of his own land. 
This idea was always with him. In a letter to his son, 
written in July, '65, referring to some proposed indict- 
ments of prominent Confederates, he says : 

". . . As soon as I can ascertain their intention 
toward me, if not prevented, I shall endeavour to procure 
some humble, but quiet abode for your mother and 
sisters, where I hope they can be happy. As I before 
said, I want to get in some grass country where the 
natural product of the land will do much for my sub- 
sistence. . . ." 

Again in a letter to his son, dated October, 1865, after 
he had accepted the presidency of Washington College, 
Lexington, Virginia: 

" I should have selected a more quiet life and a more 


retired abode than Lexington. I should have preferred 
a small farm, where I could have earned my daily bread." 

About this time I was given a gun of my own and 
was allowed to go shooting by myself. My father, to 
give me an incentive, offered a reward for every crow- 
scalp I could bring him, and, in order that I might get 
to work at once, advanced a small sum with which to buy 
powder and shot, this sum to be returned to him out of 
the first scalps obtained. My industry and zeal were 
great, my hopes high, and by good luck I did succeed in 
bagging two crows about the second time I went out. I 
showed them with great pride to my father, intimating 
that I should shortly be able to return him his loan, and 
that he must be prepared to hand over to me very soon 
further rewards for my skill. His eyes twinkled, and 
his smile showed that he had strong doubts of my making 
an income by killing crows, and he was right, for I never 
killed another, though I tried hard and long. 

I saw but little of my father after we left West Point. 
He went to Texas, as I have stated, in '55 and remained 
until the fall of '57, the time of my grandfather's death. 
He was then at Arlington about a year. Returning to his 
regiment, he remained in Texas until the autumn of 
'59, when he came again to Arlington, having applied 
for leave in order to finish the settling of my grand- 
father's estate. During this visit he was selected by the 
Secretary of War to suppress the famous "John Brown 
Raid," and was sent to Harper's Ferry in command 
of the United States troops. 

From his memorandum book the following entries 
are taken: 

"October 17, 1859. Received orders from the Secre- 


tary of War in person, to repair in evening train to 
Harper's Ferry. 

" Reached Harper's Ferry atn p.m. . . . Posted 
marines in the United States Armory. Waited until 
daylight, as a number of citizens were held as hostages, 
whose lives were threatened. Tuesday about sunrise, 
with twelve marines, under Lieutenant Green, broke in 
the door of the engine-house, secured the insurgents, 
and relieved the prisoners unhurt. All the insurgents 
killed or mortally wounded, but four, John Brown, 
Stevens, Coppie, and Shields." 

Brown was tried and convicted and sentenced to be 
hanged on December 2, 1859. Colonel Lee writes as 
follows to his wife : 

"Harper's Ferry, December 1, 1859. 

"I arrived here, dearest Mary, yesterday about noon, 
with four companies from Fort Monroe, and was busy 
all the evening and night getting accommodation for 
the men, etc., and posting sentinels and piquets to insure 
timely notice of the approach of the enemy. The night 
has passed off quietly. The feelings of the community 
seem to be calmed down, and I have been received with 
every kindness. Mr. Fry is among the officers from 
Old Point. There are several young men, former ac- 
quaintances of ours, as cadets, Mr. Bingham of Custis's 
class, Sam Cooper, etc., but the senior officers I never 
met before, except Captain Howe, the friend of our 
Cousin Harriet R . 

"I presume we are fixed here till after the 16th. To- 
morrow will probably be the last of Captain Brown. 
There will be less interest for the others, but still I think 
the troops will not be withdrawn till they are similarly 
disposed of. 

"Custis will have informed you that I had to go to 
Baltimore the evening I left you, to make arrangements 
for the transportation for the troops. . . . This 


morning I was introduced to Mrs. Brown, who, with a 
Mrs. Tyndall and a Mr. and Mrs. McKim, all from Phila- 
delphia, had come on to have a last interview with her 
husband. As it is a matter over which I have no control 
I referred them to General Taliaferro.* 

"You must write to me at this place. I hope you 
are all well. Give love to everybody. Tell Smith t that 
no charming women have insisted on taking care of me 
as they are always doing of him — I am left to my own 
resources. I will write you again soon, and will always 
be truly and affectionately yours, 

"Mrs. M. C. Lee. R. E. Lee." 

In February, i860, he was ordered to take command 
of the Department of Texas. There he remained a year. 
The first months after his arrival were spent in the vain 
pursuit of the famous brigand, Cortinez, who was con- 
tinually stealing across the Rio Grande, burning the 
homes, driving off the stock of the ranchmen, and then 
retreating into Mexico. The summer months he spent 
in San Antonio, and while there interested himself with 
the good people of that town in building an Episcopal 
church, to which he contributed largely. 

* General William B. Taliaferro, commanding Virginia troops at 
Harper's Ferry. 

| Sydney Smith Lee, of the United States Navy, his brother. 


The Confederate General 

resigns from colonelcy of first u. s. cavalry — 
motives for this step — chosen to command vir- 
ginia forces — anxiety about his wife, family 
and possessions — chief adviser to president davis 

battle of manassas — military operations in 

west virginia — letter to state governor 

In February, 1861, after the secession of Texas, my 
father was ordered to report to General Scott, the 
Commander-in-Chief of the United States Army. He 
immediately relinquished the command of his regiment, 
and departed from Fort Mason, Texas, for Washington. 
He reached Arlington March 1st. April 17th, Virginia 
seceded. On the 18th Colonel Lee had a long inter- 
view with General Scott. On April 20th he tendered 
his resignation of his commission in the United States 
Army. The same day he wrote to General Scott the 
following letter : 

" Arlington, Virginia, April 20, 1861. 
"General: Since my interview with you on the 18th 
inst. I have felt that I ought no longer to retain my 
commission in the Army. I therefore tender my resig- 
nation, which I request you will recommend for accept- 
ance. It would have been presented at once but for 
the struggle it has cost me to separate myself from a 
service to which I have devoted the best years of my life, 
and all the ability I possessed. 



" During the whole of that time — more than a quarter 
of a century — I have experienced nothing but kindness 
from my superiors and a most cordial friendship from 
my comrades. To no one, General, have I been as much 
indebted as to yourself for uniform kindness and con- 
sideration, and it has always been my ardent desire 
to merit your approbation. I shall carry to the grave 
the most grateful recollections of your kind considera- 
tion, and your name and fame shall always be dear to 

" Save in the defense of my native State, I never desire 
again to draw my sword. 

" Be pleased to accept my most earnest wishes for 
the continuance of your happiness and prosperity, and 
believe me most truly yours, 


"R. E. Lee." 

His resignation was written the same day. 

"Arlington, Washington City P. 0., April 20, 1861. 
"Honourable Simon Cameron, Secretary of War. 

"Sir: I have the honour to tender the resignation of 
my command as Colonel of the First Regiment of Cavalry. 
"Very respectfully your obedient servant, 

"R. E. Lee, 
"Colonel First Cavalry." 

To show further his great feeling in thus having to 
leave the army with which he had been associated so 
long, I give two more letters, one to his sister, Mrs. 
Anne Marshall, of Baltimore, the other to his brother, 
Captain Sydney Smith Lee, of the United States Navy : 

"Arlington, Virginia, April 20, 1861. 
" My Dear Sister: I am grieved at my inability to see 
you. ... I have been waiting for a 'more con- 
venient season,' which has brought to many before me 


deep and lasting regret. Now we are in a state of war 
which will yield to nothing. The whole South is in a 
state of revolution, into which Virginia, after a long 
struggle, has been drawn; and though I recognise no 
necessity for this state of things, and would have for- 
borne and pleaded to the end for redress of grievances, 
real or supposed, yet in my own person I had to meet 
the question whether I should take part against my 
native State. 

"With all my devotion to the Union and the feeling 
of loyalty and duty of an American citizen, I have not 
been able to make up my mind to raise my hand against 
my relatives, my children, my home. I have therefore 
resigned my commission in the Army, and save in de- 
fense of my native State, with the sincere hope that my 
poor services may never be needed, I hope I may never 
be called on to draw my sword. I know you will blame 
me; but you must think as kindly of me as you can, 
and believe that I have endeavoured to do what I thought 

"To show you the feeling and struggle it has cost me, 
I send you a copy of my letter of resignation. I have 
no time for more. May God guard and protect you and 
yours, and shower upon you everlasting blessings, is 
the prayer of your devoted brother, R. E. Lee." 

"Arlington, Virginia, April 20, i860. 
"My Dear Brother Smith: The question which was 
the subject of my earnest consultation with you on the 
1 8th inst. has in my own mind been decided. After the 
most anxious inquiry as to the correct course for me 
to pursue, I concluded to resign, and sent in my resig- 
nation this morning. I wished to wait till the Ordinance 
of Secession should be acted on by the people of Virginia ; 
but war seems to have commenced, and I am liable at 
any time to be ordered on duty which I could not con- 
scientiously perform. To save me from such a position, 
and to prevent the necessity of resigning under orders, I 


had to act at once, and before I could see you again on 
the subject, as I had wished. I am now a private citizen, 
and have no other ambition than to remain at home. 
Save in defense of my native State, I have no desire ever 
again to draw my sword. I send you my warmest love. 
"Your affectionate brother, 


I will give here one of my father's letters, written 
after the war, in which is his account of his resignation 
from the United States Army: 

"Lexington, Virginia, February 25, 1868. 
"Honourable Reverdy Johnson, 

"United States Senate, Washington, D. C. 
"My Dear Sir: My attention has been called to the 
official report of the debate in the Senate of the United 
States, on the 19th instant, in which you did me the 
kindness to doubt the correctness of the statement made 
by the Honourable Simon Cameron, in regard to myself. 
I desire that you may feel certain of my conduct on the 
occasion referred to, so far as my individual statement 
can make you. I never intimated to any one that I 
desired the command of the United States Army; nor 
did I ever have a conversation with but one gentle- 
man, Mr. Francis Preston Blair, on the subject, which 
was at his invitation, and, as I understood, at the instance 
of President Lincoln. After listening to his remarks, I 
declined the offer he made me, to take command of the 
army that was to be brought into the field ; stating, as 
candidly and as courteously as I could, that, though 
opposed to secession and deprecating war, I could take 
no part in an invasion of the Southern States. I went 
directly from the interview with Mr. Blair to the office 
of General Scott ; told him of the proposition that had 
been made to me, and my decision. Upon reflection 
after returning to my home, I concluded that I ought 
no longer to retain the commission I held in the United 


States Army, and on the second morning thereafter I 
forwarded my resignation to General Scott. At the 
time, I hoped that peace would have been preserved; 
that some way would have been found to save the country 
from the calamities of war; and I then had no other 
intention than to pass the remainder of my life as a 
private citizen. Two days afterward, upon the invi- 
tation of the Governor of Virginia, I repaired to Rich- 
mond; found that the Convention then in session had 
passed the ordinance withdrawing the State from the 
Union; and accepted the commission of commander of 
its forces, which was tendered me. 

"These are the ample facts of the case, and they 
shew that Mr. Cameron has been misinformed. 

" I am with great respect, 

" Your obedient servant, 

"R. E. Lee." 

My father reached Richmond April 22, 1861. The 
next day he was introduced to the Virginia Convention, 
and offered by them the command of the military forces 
of his State. In his reply to Mr. John Janney, the 
President, who spoke for the Convention, he said: 

11 Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Convention: 
Deeply impressed with the solemnity of the occasion 
on which I appear before you, and profoundly grate- 
ful for the honour conferred upon me, I accept the 
position your partiality has assigned me, though I 
would greatly have preferred your choice should have 
fallen on one more capable. 

" Trusting to Almighty God, an approving conscience, 
and the aid of my fellow-citizens, I will devote myself 
to the defense and service of my native State, in whose 
behalf alone would I have ever drawn my sword." 

On April 26th, from Richmond, he wrote to his wife: 


" . . . I am very anxious about you. You have 
to move and make arrangements to go to some point 
of safety, which you must select. The Mount Vernon 
plate and pictures ought to be secured. Keep quiet 
while you remain and in your preparation. War is 
inevitable, and there is no telling when it will burst 
around you. Virginia, yesterday, I understand, joined 
the Confederate States. What policy they may adopt I 
cannot conjecture. May God bless and preserve you, 
and have mercy upon all our people, is the constant 
prayer of your affectionate husband, 

"R, E. Lee." 

On April 30th: 

" On going to my room last night I found my trunk and 
sword there, and opening them this morning discovered 
the package of letters and was very glad to learn you were 
all well and as yet peaceful. I fear the latter state will 
not continue long. ... I think therefore you had 
better prepare all things for removal, that is, the plate, 
pictures, etc., and be prepared at any moment. Where 
to go is the difficulty. When the war commences no place 
will be exempt, in my opinion, and indeed all the avenues 
into the State will be the scenes of military operations. 

"There is no prospect or intention of the Government 
to propose a truce. Do not be deceived by it. . . . 
May God preserve you all and bring peace to our dis- 
tracted country." 

Again to my mother at Arlington : 

"Richmond, May 2, 1861. 
" My dear Mary: I received last night your letter of the 
1st, with contents. It gave me great pleasure to learn 
that you were all well and in peace. You know how 
pleased I should be to have you and my dear daughters 
with me. That I fear cannot be. There is no place that 


I can expect to be but in the field, and there is no rest for 
me to look to. But I want you to be in a place of safety. 
. . . We have only to be resigned to God's will and 
pleasure, and do all we can for our protection. ... I 
have just received Custis's letter of the 30th, inclosing the 
acceptance of my resignation. It is stated that it will 
take effect April 25th. I resigned on the 20th, and 
wished it to take effect that day. I cannot consent to its 
running on further, and he must receive no pay, if they 
tender it, beyond that day, but return the whole, if need 
be. . . ." 

From another letter to my mother, dated May 8th : 

" . . . I grieve at the necessity that drives you from 
your home. I can appreciate your feelings on the occa- 
sion, and pray that you may receive comfort and strength 
in the difficulties that surround you. When I reflect 
upon the calamity impending over the country, my own 
sorrows sink into insignificance. ... Be content and 
resigned to God's will. I shall be able to write seldom. 
Write to me, as your letters will be my greatest comfort. 
I send a check for $500 ; it is all I have in bank. Pay the 
children's school expenses. . . ." 

To my mother, still at Arlington: 

"Richmond, May 11, 1861. 
" I have received your letter of the 9th from Arlington. 
I had supposed you were at Ravensworth. ... I am 
glad to hear that you are at peace, and enjoying the sweet 
weather and beautiful flowers. You had better com- 
plete your arrangements and retire further from the 
scene of war. It may burst upon you at any time. It 
is sad to think of the devastation, if not ruin, it may bring 
upon a spot so endeared to us. But God's will be done. 
Y\fe must be resigned. May He guard and keep you all, 
is my constant prayer." 


All this time my father was very hard at work organ- 
ising and equipping the volunteers who were pouring 
into Richmond from the Southern States, but he was in 
constant correspondence with my mother, helping her 
all he could in her arrangements for leaving her home. 
His letters show that he thought of everything, even the 
least, and he gave the most particular directions about 
his family, their effects, the servants, the horses, the farm, 
pictures, plate, and furniture. Being called to Norfolk 
suddenly, before going he wrote to my mother: 

" Richmond, May 16, 1861. 
"My Dear Mary: I am called down to Norfolk and 
leave this afternoon. I expect to return Friday, but 
may be delayed. I write to advise you of my absence, 
in case you should not receive answers to any letters that 
may arrive. I have not heard from you since I last 
wrote ; nor have I anything to relate. I heard from my 
dear little Rob, who had an attack of chills and fever. 
He hoped to escape the next paroxysm. ... I wit- 
nessed the opening of the convention* yesterday, and 
heard the good Bishop 'sf sermon, being the 50th anni- 
versary of his ministry. It was a most impressive scene, 
and more than once I felt the tears coming down my 
cheek. It was from the text, 'and Pharaoh said unto 
Jacob, how old art thou ? ' It was full of humility and 
self-reproach. I saw Mr. Walker, Bishop Johns, Bishop 
Atkinson, etc. I have not been able to attend any other 
services, and presume the session will not be prolonged. 
I suppose it may be considered a small attendance; 
Should Custis arrive during my absence, I will leave word 
for him to take my room at the Spotswood till my return. 
SmithJ is well and enjoys a ride in the afternoon with 
Mrs. Stannard. The charming women, you know, always 

* The Episcopal Convention of the Diocese of Virginia, 
t Bishop Meade, of Virginia. 
% His brother, S. S. Lee, C. S. N. 


find him out. Give much love to Cousin Anna, Nannie, 
and dear daughters. When Rob leaves the University 
take him with you. 

" Truly and affectionately, R. E. Lee." 

By this time my mother and all the family had left 
Arlington. My brother, Custis, had joined my father in 
Richmond, the girls had gone to Fauquier county, to 
visit relatives, and my mother to Ravensworth, about 
ten miles from Arlington towards Fairfax Court House, 
where her aunt, Mrs. A. M. Fitzhugh, lived. Always con- 
siderate of the happiness and comfort of others, my father 
feared that his wife's presence at Ravensworth might 
possibly bring annoyance to "Cousin Anna," as he called 
our aunt, and he wrote to my mother, urging her not to 
remain there. He sympathised with her in having to 
leave her home, which she never saw again. 

"Richmond, May 25, 1861. 

" I have been trying, dearest Mary, ever since the 
receipt of your letter by Custis, to write to you. I sym- 
pathise deeply in your feelings at leaving your dear home. 
I have experienced them myself, and they are constantly 
revived. I fear we have not been grateful enough for the 
happiness there within our reach, and our heavenly 
Father has found it necessary to deprive us of what He 
has given us. I acknowledge my ingratitude, my trans- 
gressions, and my unworthiness, and submit with resig- 
nation to what he thinks proper to inflict upon me. We 
must trust all then to him, and I do not think it prudent 
or right for you to return there, while the United States 
troops occupy that country. I have gone over all this 
ground before, and have just written to Cousin Anna 
on the subject. 

"While writing, I received a telegram from Cousin 
John Goldsborough*, urging your departure 'South.' I 

* A cousin of Mrs. Fitzhugh. 


suppose he is impressed with the risk of your present 
position, and in addition to the possibility, or probability, 
of personal annoyance to yourself, I fear your presence 
may provoke annoyance to Cousin Anna. But unless 
Cousin Anna goes with you, I shall be distressed about 
her being there alone. If the girls went to ' Kinloch ' or 
'Eastern View,' you and Cousin Anna might take care 
of yourselves, because you could get in the carriage and 
go off in an emergency. But I really am afraid that you 
may prove more harm than comfort to her. Mr. Wm. C. 
Rives has just been in to say that if you and Cousin Anna 
will go to his house, he will be very glad for you to stay 
as long as you please. That his son has a commodious 
house just opposite his, unoccupied, partially furnished; 
that you could, if you prefer, take that, bring up servants 
and what you desire, and remain there as independent as 
at home. ... I must now leave the matter to you, 
and pray that God may guard you. I have no time for 
more. I know and feel the discomfort of your position, 
but it cannot be helped, and we must bear our trials like 
Christians. ... If you and Cousin Anna choose to 
come here, you know how happy we shall be to see you. 
I shall take the field as soon now as I can. 
" Ever yours truly and devotedly, 

"R. E. Lee." 

Three days later he was at Manassas, only a short dis- 
tance from Ravens worth, and he sent her this short note : 

"Manassas, May 28, 1861. 

" I reached here, dearest Mary, this afternoon. I am 
very much occupied in examining matters, and have to 
go out to look over the ground. Cousin John tempts me 
strongly to go down, but I never visit for many reasons. 
If for no other, to prevent compromising the house, for 
my visit would certainly be known. 

"I have written to you fully and to Cousin Anna. I 
am decidedly of the opinion that it would be better for 


you to leave, on your account and Cousin Anna's. My 
only objection is the leaving Cousin Anna alone, if she 
will not go with you. If you prefer Richmond, go with 
Nannie. Otherwise, go to the upper country, as John 
indicates. I fear I cannot be with you anywhere. I do 
not think Richmond will be permanent. 

" Truly, R." 

I may as well say here, that " Cousin Anna" never did 
leave " Ravensworth " during the war. She remained 
there, with only a few faithful servants, and managed to 
escape any serious molestation. " Nannie " was Mrs. S. S. 
Lee, who shortly after this time went to Richmond. 

On May 25th my father was transferred, with all the 
Virginia troops, to the Confederate States Army. He 
ceased to be a Major-General, and became a' Brigadier, no 
higher rank having been created as yet in the Confederate 
service. Later, when the rank was created, he was made 
a full general. 

By the end of May, to quote from General Long, 

"Lee had organised, equipped, and sent to the field 
more than thirty thousand men, and various regiments 
were in a forward state of preparation." 

When the Confederate government moved from Mont- 
gomery to Richmond, and President Davis took charge 
of all military movements, my father was kept near him 
as his constant and trusted adviser. His experience as 
an engineer was of great service to the young Confederacy, 
and he was called upon often for advice for the location of 
batteries and troops on our different defensive lines. In 
a letter to my mother he speaks of one of these trips to 
the waters east of Richmond. 


"Richmond, June 9, 1861. 
". . . I have just returned from a visit to the bat- 
teries and troops on James and York rivers, etc., where 
I was some days. I called a few hours at the White 
House. Saw Charlotte and Annie. Fitzhugh was away, 
but got out of the cars as I got in. Our little boy looked 
very sweet and seemed glad to kiss me a good-bye. Char- 
lotte said she was going to prepare to leave for the sum- 
mer, but had not determined where to go. I could only 
see some of the servants about the house and the stables. 
They were all well. . . . You may be aware that 
the Confederate Government is established here. Yes- 
terday I turned over to it the command of the military 
and naval forces of the State, in accordance with the 
proclamation of the Government and the agreement 
between the State and the Confederate States. I do not 
know what my position will be. I should like to retire to 
private life, if I could be with you and the children, but 
if I can be of any service to the State or her cause I must 
continue. Mr. Davis and all his Cabinet are here. . . . 
Good-bye. Give much love to kind friends. May God 
guard and bless you, them, and our suffering country, and 
enable me to perform my duty. I think of you con- 
stantly. Write me what you will do. Direct here. 

"Always yours, 

"R. E. Lee." 

To my mother, who was now in Fauquier County, 
staying at "Kinloch," Mr. Edward Turner's home, he 
writes on June 24th, from Richmond: 

". . . Your future arrangements are the source of 
much anxiety to me. No one can say what is in the 
future, nor is it wise to anticipate evil. But it is well to 
prepare for what may reasonably happen and be provided 
for the worst. There is no saying when you can return 
to your home or what may be its condition when you do 
return. What, then, can you do in the meantime ? To 


remain with friends may be incumbent, and where can you 
go? . . . My movements are very uncertain, and I 
wish to take the field as soon as certain arrangements can 
be made. I may go at any moment, and to any point 
where it may be necessary. . . . Many of our old 
friends are dropping in. E. P. Alexander is here, Jimmy 
Hill, Alston, Jenifer, etc., and I hear that my old 
colonel, A. S. Johnston, is crossing the plains from 
California. . . . 

"As ever, R. E. Lee." 

I again quote from a letter to my mother, dated 
Richmond, July 12, 1861: 

". . . I am very anxious to get into the field, but 
am detained by matters beyond my control. I have 
never heard of the appointment, to which you allude, of 
Commander-in-Chief of the Confederate States Army, nor 
have I any expectation or wish for it. President Davis 
holds that position. Since the transfer of the military 
operations in Virginia to the authorities of the Confederate 
States, I have only occupied the position of a general in 
that service, with the duties devolved on me by the Presi- 
dent. I have been labouring to prepare and get into the 
field the Virginia troops, and to strengthen, by those from 
the other States, the threatened commands of Johnston, 
Beauregard, Huger, Garnett, etc. Where I shall go I do 
not know, as that will depend upon President Davis. As 
usual in getting through with a thing, I have broken 
down a little and had to take my bed last evening, but 
am at my office this morning and hope will soon be right 
again. . . . My young friend Mr. Vest has just 
returned from a search in the city for ' Dixie,' and says he 
has visited every place in Richmond without finding it. 
I suppose it is exhausted. Always yours, 

"R. E. Lee." 

"The booksellers say 'Dixie' is not to be had in Vir- 
ginia. R. E. L." 


On July 2 1 st occurred the battle of Manassas. In a 
letter to my mother written on the 27th, my father says: 

". . . That indeed was a glorious victory and has 
lightened the pressure upon our front amazingly. Do 
not grieve for the brave dead. Sorrow for those they left 
behind — friends, relatives, and families. The former are 
at rest. The latter must suffer. The battle will be 
repeated there in greater force. I hope God will again 
smile on us and strengthen our hearts and arms. I 
wished to partake in the former struggle, and am mor- 
tified at my absence, but the President thought it more 
important I should be here. I could not have done as 
well as has been done, but I could have helped, and taken 
part in the struggle for my home and neighbourhood. 
So the work is done I care not by whom it is done. I 
leave to-morrow for the Northwest Army. I wished to 
go before, as I wrote you, and was all prepared, but the 
indications were so evident of the coming battle, and in 
the uncertainty of the result, the President forbade my 
departure. Now it is necessary and he consents. I can- 
not say for how long, but will write you. . . . I in- 
close you a letter from Markie.* Write to her if you can 
and thank her for her letter to me. I have not time. 
My whole time is occupied, and all my thoughts and 
strength are given to the cause to which my life, be it long 
or short, will be devoted. Tell her not to mind the 
reports she sees in the papers. They are made to injure 
and occasion distrust. Those that know me will not 
believe them. Those that do not will not care for them. 
I laugh at them. Give love to all, and for yourself 
accept the constant prayers and love of truly yours, 

"R. E. Lee." 

It was thought best at this time to send General Lee to 

take command of military operations in West Virginia. 

*Miss Martha Custis Williams — second cousin of my mother, after- 
ward Mrs. Admiral Carter, U. S. N. 


The ordinary difficulties of a campaign in this country of 
mountains and bad roads were greatly increased by 
incessant rains, sickness of all kinds amongst the new 
troops, and the hostility of many of the inhabitants to 
the Southern cause. My father's letters, which I will give 
here, tell of his trials and troubles, and describe at the 
same time the beauty of scenery and some of the military 

About August ist he started for his new command > 
and he writes to my mother on his arrival at Hunters- 
ville, Pocahontas County, now West Virginia: 

" HUNTERSVILLE, August 4, l86l. 

" I reached here yesterday, dearest Mary, to visit this 
portion of the army. The day after my arrival at Staun- 
ton, I set off for Monterey, where the army of General 
Garnett's command is stationed. Two regiments and a 
field-battery occupy the Alleghany Mountains in advance, 
about thirty miles, and this division guards the road to 
Staunton. The division here guards the road leading by 
the Warm Springs to Milboro and Covington. Two 
regiments are advanced about twenty-eight miles to Mid- 
dle Mountain. Fitzhugh* with his squadron is between 
that point and this. I have not seen him. I understand 
he is well. South of here again is another column of our 
enemies, making their way up the Kanawha Valley, and, 
from General Wise's report, are not far from Lewisburgh. 
Their object seems to be to get possession of the Virginia 
Central Railroad and the Virginia and Tennessee Rail- 
road. By the first they can approach Richmond ; by the 
last interrupt our reinforcements from the South. The 
points from which we can be attacked are numerous, and 
their means are unlimited. So we must always be on the 
alert. My uneasiness on these points brought me out 
here. It is so difficult to get our people, unaccustomed 
to the necessities of war, to comprehend and promptly 

* Major W. H. F. Lee — General Lee's second son. 


execute the measures required for the occasion. General 
Jackson of Georgia commands on the Monterey line, Gen- 
eral Loring on this line, and General Wise, supported by 
General Floyd, on the Kanawha line. The soldiers every- 
where are sick. The measles are prevalent throughout 
the whole army, and you know that disease leaves unpleas- 
ant results, attacks on the lungs, typhoid, etc., especially 
in camp, where accommodations for the sick are poor* I 
travelled from Staunton on horseback. A part of the 
road, as far as Buffalo Gap, I passed over in the summer 
of 1840, on my return to St. Louis, after bringing you 
home. If any one had then told me that the next time 
I travelled that road would have been on my present 
errand, I should have supposed him insane. I enjoyed 
the mountains, as I rode along. The views are magnifi- 
cent — the valleys so beautiful, the scenery so peaceful. 
What a glorious world Almighty God has. given us. How 
thankless and ungrateful we are, and how we labour to 
mar his gifts. I hope you received my letters from Rich- 
mond. Give love to daughter and Mildred. I did not 
see Rob as I passed through Charlottesville. He was at 
the University and I could not stop." 

A few days later there is another letter : 

"Camp at Valley Mountain, August 9, 1861. 

" I have been here, dear Mary, three days, coming from 
Monterey to Huntersville and thence here. We are on 
the dividing ridge looking north down the Tygart's river 
valley, whose waters flow into the Monongahela and South 
towards the Elk River and Greenbrier, flowing into the 
Kanawha. In the valley north of us lie Huttonsville 
and Beverly, occupied by our invaders, and the Rich 
Mountains west, the scene of our former disaster, and the 
Cheat Mountains east, their present stronghold, are in 
full view. 

"The mountains are beautiful, fertile to the tops, cov- 
ered with the richest sward of bluegrass and white clover, 
the inclosed fields waving with the natural growth of 


timothy. The habitations are few and population sparse. 
This is a magnificent grazing country, and all it needs is 
labour to clear the mountain-sides of its great growth of 
timber. There surely is no lack of moisture at this time. 
It has rained, I believe, some portion of every day since I 
left Staunton. Now it is pouring, and the wind, having 
veered around to every point of the compass, has settled 
down to the northeast. What that portends in these 
regions I do not know. Colonel Washington*, Captain 
Taylor, and myself are in one tent, which as yet protects 
us. I have enjoyed the company of Fitzhugh since I have 
been here. He is very well and very active, and as yet 
the war has not reduced him much. He dined with me 
yesterday and preserves his fine appetite. To-day he is 
out reconnoitring and has the full benefit of this rain. I 
fear he is without his overcoat, as I do not recollect seeing 
it on his saddle. I told you he had been promoted to a 
major in cavalry, and is the commanding cavalry officer 
on this line at present. He is as sanguine, cheerful, and 
hearty as ever. I sent him some corn-meal this morning 
and he sent me some butter — a mutual interchange of 
good things. There are but few of your acquaintances in 
this army. I find here in the ranks of one company- 
Henry Tiffany. The company is composed principally of 
Baltimoreans — George Lemmon and Douglas Mercer are 
in it. It is a very fine company, well drilled and well 
instructed. I find that our old friend, J. J. Reynolds, of 
West Point memory, is in command of the troops imme- 
diately in front of us. He is a brigadier-general. You 
may recollect him as the Assistant Professor of Philosophy, 
and lived in the cottage beyond the west gate, with his 
little, pale-faced wife, a great friend of Lawrence and 
Markie. He resigned on being relieved from West Point, 
and was made professor of some college in the West. 
Fitzhugh was the bearer of a flag the other day, and he 
recognised him. He was very polite and made kind 
inquiries of us all. I am told they feel very safe and are 

* John Augustin Washington, great-nephew of General Washington, 
and Mt. Vernon's last owner bearing the name. 


very confident of success. Their numbers are said to be 
large, ranging from 12,000 to 30,000, but it is impossible 
for me to get correct information either as to their strength 
or position. Our citizens beyond this are all on their side. 
Our movements seem to be rapidly communicated to 
them, while theirs come to us slowly and indistinctly. I 
have two regiments here, with others coming up. I think 
we shall shut up this road to the Central Railroad which 
they strongly threaten. Our supplies come up slowly. 
We have plenty of beef and can get some bread. I hope 
you are well and are content. I have heard nothing of 
you or the children since I left Richmond. You must 
write there. . . . The men are suffering from the 
measles, etc., as elsewhere, but are cheerful and light- 
hearted. The atmosphere, when it is not raining, is 
delightful. You must give much love to daughter and 
1 Life. ' * I want to see you all very much, but I know not 
when that can be. May God guard and protect you all. 
In Him alone is our hope. Remember me to Nedf and 
all at 'Kinloch' and Avenel.J Send word to Miss Lou 
Washington § that her father is sitting on his blanket 
sewing the strap on his haversack. I think she ought to 
be here to do it. Always yours, 

"R. E. Lee." 

In a letter to his two daughters who were in Richmond, 
he writes: 

"Valley Mountain, August 29, 1861. 
" My Precious Daughters: I have just received your let- 
ters of the 24th and am rejoiced to hear that you are well 
and enjoying the company of your friends. ... It 
rains here all the time, literally. There has not been sun- 
shine enough since my arrival to dry my clothes. Perry || 

* Pet names for his two daughters, Mary and Mildred. 

f Mr. Edward Carter Turner, of Kinloch, my father's cousin. 

J " Avenel," the house of the Berbeleys, in Fauquier County. 

§ Eldest daughter of John Augustin Washington. 

|| His servant — had been in the dining-room at Arlington. 


is my washerman, and socks and towels suffer. But the 
worst of the rain is that the ground has become so satu- 
rated with water that the constant travel on the roads 
has made them almost impassable, so that I cannot get 
up sufficient supplies for the troops to move. It is raining 
now. Has been all day, last night, day before, and day 
before that, etc., etc. But we must be patient. It is quite 
cool, too. I have on all my winter clothes and am writing 
in my overcoat. All the clouds seem to concentrate over 
this ridge of mountains, and by whatever wind they are 
driven, give us rain. The mountains are magnificent. 
The sugar-maples are beginning to turn already, and the 
grass is luxuriant. 

"'Richmond'* has not been accustomed to such fare 
or such treatment. But he gets along tolerably, com- 
plains some, and has not much superfluous flesh. There 
has been much sickness among the men — measles, etc. — 
and the weather has been unfavourable. I hope their 
attacks are nearly over, and that they will come out with 
the sun. Our party has kept well. . . . Although 
we may be too weak to break through the lines, I feel well 
satisfied that the enemy cannot at present reach Rich- 
mond by either of these routes, leading to Staunton, Mil- 
borough or Covington. He must find some other way. 
. . . God bless you, my children, and preserve you 
from all harm is the constant prayer of 

" Your devoted father, 

"R. E. Lee." 

On account of rheumatism, my mother was anxious to 
go to the Hot Springs in Bath County. She was now 
staying at "Audley," Clarke County, Virginia, with Mrs. 
Lorenzo Lewis, who had just sent her six sons into the 
army. Bath County was not very far from the seat of 
war in western Virginia, and my father was asked as to 
the safety of the Hot Springs from occupation by the 
enemy. He writes as follows to my mother : 

* His horse. 


"Valley Mountain, September 1, 1861. 

"I have received, dearest Mary, your letter of August 
1 8th from Audley, and am very glad to get news of your 
whereabouts. ... I am very glad you are enabled 
to see so many of your friends. I hope you have found 
all well in your tour, and am very glad that our cousin 
Esther bears the separation from all her sons so bravely. 
I have no doubt they will do good service in our Southern 
cause, and wish they could be placed according to their 
fancies. ... I fear you have postponed your visit 
to the Hot too late. It must be quite cold there now, 
judging from the temperature here, and it has been raining 
in these mountains since July 24th. ... I see Fitz- 
hugh quite often, though he is encamped four miles from 
me. He is very well and not at all harmed by the cam- 

" We have a great deal of sickness among the soldiers, 
and now those on the sick-list would form an army. The 
measles is still among them, though I hope it is dying 
out. But it is a disease which though light in childhood 
is severe in manhood, and prepares the system for other 
attacks. The constant cold rains, with no shelter but 
tents, have aggravated it. All these drawbacks, with 
impassable roads, have paralysed our efforts. Still I think 
you will be safe at the Hot, for the present. We are right 
up to the enemy on the three lines, and in the Kanawha 
he has been pushed beyond the Gauley. . . . My 
poor little Rob I never hear from scarcely. He is busy, J 
suppose, and knows not where to direct. . . . 
"With much affection, 

"R. E. Lee." 

From the same camp, to my mother, on September 9th: 

". . . I hope from the tone of your letter that you 
feel better, and wish I could see you and be with you. I 
trust we may meet this fall somewhere, if only for a little 
time. I have written to Robert telling him if, after con- 


sidering what I have previously said to him on the sub- 
ject of his joining the company he desires under Major 
Ross, he still thinks it best for him to do so, I will not 
withhold my consent. It seems he will be eighteen; I 
thought seventeen. I am unable to judge for him and 
he must decide for himself. In reply to a recent letter 
from him to me on the same subject, I said to him all I 
could. I pray God to bring him to a right conclusion. 
. . . For military news, I must refer you to the papers. 
You will see there more than ever occurs, and what does 
occur the relation must be taken with some allowance. 
Do not believe anything you see about me. There has 
been no battle, only skirmishing with the outposts, and 
nothing done of any moment. The weather is still 
unfavourable to us. The roads, or rather tracks of mud, 
are almost impassable and the number of sick large. . . . 
" Trulv and devotedly yours, 

"R. E. Lee." 

My mother was at the Hot Springs — I had taken her 
there and was with her. I don't now remember why, 
but it was decided that I should return to the University 
of Virginia, which opened October ist, and continue 
my course there. While at the Springs my mother 
received this letter from my father: 

"Valley Mount, September 17, 1861. 
" I received, dear Mary, your letter of the 5th by 
Beverly Turner,* who is a nice young soldier. I am 
pained to see fine young men like him, of education and 
standing, from all the old and respectable families in 
the State, serving in the ranks. I hope in time they will 
receive their reward. I met him as I was returning from 
an expedition to the enemy's works, which I had hoped 
to have surprised on the morning of the 12th, both at 
Cheat Mountain and on Valley River. All the attacking 

* A son of Mr. Edward Turner, of " Kinloch." 


parties with great labour had reached their destination, 
over mountains considered impassable to bodies of troops, 
notwithstanding a heavy storm that set in the day before 
and raged all night, in which they had to stand up till 
daylight. Their arms were then unserviceable, and they 
in poor condition for a fierce assault against artillery 
and superior numbers. After waiting till 10 o'clock for 
the assault on Cheat Mountain, which did not take place, 
and which was to have been the signal for the rest, they 
were withdrawn, and, after waiting three days in front 
of the enemy, hoping he would come out of his trenches, 
we returned to our position at this place. I can not 
tell you my regret and mortification at the untoward 
events that caused the failure of the plan. I had taken 
every precaution to ensure success and counted on it. 
But the Ruler of the Universe willed otherwise and sent 
a storm to disconcert a well-laid plan, and to destroy 
my hopes. We are no worse off now than before, except 
the disclosure of our plan, against which they will guard. 
We met with one heavy loss which grieves me deeply: 
Colonel Washington accompanied Fitzhugh on a recon- 
noitering expedition, and I fear they were carried away 
by their zeal and approached within the enemy's pickets. 
The first they knew was a volley from a concealed party 
within a few yards of them. Their balls passed through 
the Colonel's body, then struck Fitzhugh's horse, and the 
horse of one of the men was killed. Fitzhugh mounted 
the Colonel's horse and brought him off. I am much 
grieved. He was always anxious to go on these expe- 
ditions. This was the first day I assented. Since I had 
been thrown into such intimate relations with him, I 
had learned to appreciate him very highly. Morning 
and evening have I seen him on his knees praying to 
his Maker. 

' 'The righteous perisheth and no man layeth it to 
heart, and merciful men are taken away, none consider- 
ing that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come. ' 
May God have mercy on us all ! I suppose you are at 


the Hot Springs and will direct to you there. Our poor 
sick, I know, suffer much. They bring it on themselves 
by not doing what they are told. They are worse than 
children, for the latter can be forced. . . . 

4 'Truly yours, 

"R. E. Lee." 

On the same day he wrote to the Governor of Virginia : 

"Valley Mountain, September 17, 1861. 
11 My Dear Governor: I received your very kind note 
of the 5th instant, just as I was about to accompany 
General Loring's command on an expedition to the enemy's 
works in front, or I would have before thanked you for 
the interest you take in my welfare, and your too flatter- 
ing expressions of my ability. Indeed, you overrate 
me much, and I feel humbled when I weigh myself by 
your standard. I am, however, very grateful for your 
confidence, and I can answer for my sincerity in the 
earnest endeavour I make to advance the cause I have so 
much at heart, though conscious of the slow progress I 
make. I was very sanguine of taking the enemy's 
works on last Thursday morning. I had considered the 
subject well. With great effort the troops intended 
for the surprise had reached their destination, having 
traversed twenty miles of steep, rugged mountain paths ; 
and the last day through a terrible storm, which lasted 
all night, and in which they had to stand drenched to 
the skin in cold rain. Still, their spirits were good. 
When morning broke, I could see the enemy's tents on 
Valley River, at the point on the Huttonsville road 
just below me. It was a tempting sight. We waited 
for the attack on Cheat Mountain, which was to be the 
signal. Till 10 a. m. the men were cleaning their un- 
serviceable arms. But the signal did not come. All 
chance for a surprise was gone. The provisions of the 
men had been destroyed the preceding day by the storm. 
They had nothing to eat that morning, could not hold 


out another day, and were obliged to be withdrawn. 
The party sent to Cheat Mountain to take that in rear 
had also to be withdrawn. The attack to come off from 
the east side failed from the difficulties in the way; the 
opportunity was lost, and our plan discovered. It is a 
grievous disappointment to me, I assure you. But for 
the rain-storm, I have no doubt it would have succeeded. 
This, Governor, is for your own eye. Please do not 
speak of it ; we must try again. Our greatest loss is the 
death of my dear friend, Colonel Washington. He and 
my son were reconnoitering the front of the enemy. 
They came unawares upon a concealed party, who fired 
upon them within twenty yards, and the Colonel fell 
pierced by three balls. My son's horse received three 
shots, but he escaped on the Colonel's horse. His zeal 
for the cause to which he had devoted himself carried 
him, I fear, too far. We took some seventy prisoners, 
and killed some twenty-five or thirty of the enemy. 
Our loss was small besides what I have mentioned. Our 
greatest difficulty is the roads. It has been raining 
in these mountains about six weeks. It is impossible to 
get along. It is that which has paralysed all our efforts. 
With sincere thanks for your good wishes, 

" I am very truly yours, 

"R. E. Lee. 
"His Excellency, Governor John Letcher." 


Letters to Wife and Daughters 

from camp on sewell's mountain — quotation from 
colonel taylor's book — from professor wm. p. 
trent from mr. davis's memorial address — de- 
fense of southern ports — christmas, 1 86 1 — the 
general visits his father's grave — commands, 
under the president, all the armies of the 
confederate states 

The season being too far advanced to attempt any 
further movements away from our base of supplies, and 
the same reasons preventing any advance of the Federal 
forces, the campaign in this part of Virginia ended for 
the winter. In the Kanawha Valley, however, the 
enemy had been and were quite active. Large reinforce- 
ments under General Rosecrans were sent there to assist 
General Cox, the officer in command at that point. 
General Loring, leaving a sufficient force to watch the 
enemy at Cheat Mountain, moved the rest of his army 
to join the commands of Generals Floyd and Wise, who 
were opposing the advance of Cox. General Lee, about 
September 20th, reached General Floyd's camp, and 
immediately proceeded to arrange the lines of defense. 
Shortly after his arrival there he wrote to my mother at 
the Hot Springs: 

"Camp on Sewell's Mountain, 
"September 26, 1861. 
"I have just received, dear Mary, your letters of the 



17th and 19th instants, with one from Robert. I have 
but little time for writing to-night, and will, therefore, 
write to you. . . . Having now disposed of business 
matters, I will say how glad I am to hear from you, and 
to learn that you have reached the Hot in safety, with 
daughter and Rob. I pray that its healing waters may 
benefit you all. I am glad to hear of Charlotte and the 
girls, and hope all will go well with them. I infer you 
received my letter written before leaving Valley Moun- 
tain, though you did not direct your letter 'via Lewisburg, 
Greenbrier County,' and hence its delay. I told you of 
the death of Colonel Washington. I grieve for his loss, 
though trust him to the mercy of our Heavenly Father. 
May He have mercy on us all. 

"It is raining heavily. The men are all exposed on 
the mountain, with the enemy opposite to us. We are 
without tents, and for two nights I have lain buttoned 
up in my overcoat. To-day my tent came up and I 
am in it. Yet I fear I shall not sleep for thinking of 
the poor men. I wrote about socks for myself. I have 
no doubt the yarn ones you mention will be very ac- 
ceptable to the men here or elsewhere. If you can send 
them here, I will distribute them to the most needy. 
Tell Rob I could not write to him for want of time. 
My heart is always with you and my children. May 
God guard and bless you all is the constant prayer of 

"Your devoted husband, 

"R. E. Lee." 

To my mother, still at the Hot Springs : 

"Sewell's Mountain, October 7, 1861. 
" I received, dear Mary, your letter by Doctor Quin- 
tard, with the cotton socks. Both were very acceptable, 
though the latter I have not yet tried. At the time of 
their reception the enemy was threatening an attack, 
which was continued till Saturday night, when under 
cover of darkness he suddenly withdrew. Your letter 


of the 2d, with the yarn socks, four pairs, was handed 
to me when I was preparing to follow, and I could not 
at the time attend to either. But I have since, and as I 
found Perry in desperate need, I bestowed a couple of 
pairs on him, as a present from you. The others I have 
put in my trunk and suppose they will fall to the lot of 
Meredith,* into the state of whose hose I have not yet 
inquired. Should any sick man require them first, he 
shall have them, but Meredith will have no one near 
to supply him but me, and will naturally expect that 
attention. I hope, dear Mary, you and daughter, as 
well as poor little Rob, have derived some benefit from 
the sanitary baths of the Hot. What does daughter 
intend to do during the winter? And, indeed, what do 
you? It is time you were determining. There is no 
prospect of your returning to Arlington. I think you 
had better select some comfortable place in the Carolinas 
or Georgia, and all board together. If Mildred goes to 
school at Raleigh, why not go there ? It is a good oppor- 
tunity to try a warmer climate for your rheumatism. 
If I thought our enemies would not make a vigorous 
move against Richmond, I would recommend to rent a 
house there. But under these circumstances I would 
not feel as if you were permanently located if there. 
I am ignorant where I shall be. In the field somewhere, 
I suspect, so I have little hope of being with you, though 
I hope to be able to see you. ... I heard from Fitz- 
hugh the other day. He is well, though his command is 
greatly reduced by sickness. I wished much to bring him 
with me ; but there is too much cavalry on this line now, 
and I am dismounting them. I could not, therefore, 
order more. The weather is almost as bad here as in 
the mountains I left. There was a drenching rain 
yesterday, and as I had left my overcoat in camp I was 
thoroughly wet from head to foot. It has been raining 
ever since and is now coming down with a will. But I 
have my clothes out on the bushes and they will be well 

*His cook — a servant from the White House, 


"The force of the enemy, by a few prisoners captured 
yesterday and civilians on the road, is put down from 
17,000 to 20,000. Some went as high as 22,000. General 
Floyd thinks 18,000. I do not think it exceeds 9,000 
or 10,000, though it exceeds ours. I wish he had attacked 
us, as I believe he would have been repulsed with great 
loss. His plan was to attack us at all points at the same 
time. The rumbling of his wheels, etc., was heard by 
our pickets, but. as that was customary at night in the 
moving and placing of his cannon, the officer of the day 
to whom it was reported paid no particular attention 
to it, supposing it to be a preparation for attack in the 
morning. When day appeared, the bird had flown, and 
the misfortune was that the reduced condition of our 
horses for want of provender, exposure to cold rains in 
these mountains, and want of provisions for the men 
prevented the vigorous pursuit and following up that was 
proper. We can only get up provisions from day to 
day — which paralyses our operations. 

"I am sorry, as you say, that the movements of the 
armies cannot keep pace with the expectations of the 
editors of papers. I know they can regulate matters 
satisfactorily to themselves on paper. I wish they could 
do so in the field. No one wishes them more success 
than I do and would be happy to see them have full 
swing. I hope something will be done to please them. 
Give much love to the children and everybody, and 
believe me 

"Always yours, 

"R. E. Lee." 

Colonel Taylor, in his "Four Years with General 
Lee," says: 

" We had now reached the latter days of October. The 
lateness of the season and the condition of the roads 
precluded the idea of earnest, aggressive operations, and 
the campaign in western Virginia was virtually concluded. 

"Judged from its results, it must be confessed that this 


series of operations was a failure. At its conclusion, a 
large portion of the State was in possession of the Federals, 
including the rich valleys of the Ohio and Kanawha rivers, 
and so remained until the close of the war. For this, 
however, General Lee cannot reasonably be held account- 
able. Disaster had befallen the Confederate arms, and 
the worst had been accomplished before he had reached 
the theatre of operations; the Alleghanies there consti- 
tuted the dividing line between the hostile forces, and in 
this network of mountains, sterile and rendered absolutely 
impracticable by a prolonged season of rain, Nature had 
provided an insurmountable barrier to operations in this 
transmontane country. ... It was doubtless be- 
cause of similar embarrassments that the Federal general 
retired, in the face of inferior numbers, to a point near his 
base of supplies." 

Professor William P. Trent, in his "Robert E. Lee," 
after describing briefly the movements of the contending 
armies, writes : 

"There was, then, nothing to do but to acknowledge 
the campaign a failure. The Confederate Government 
withdrew its troops and sent them elsewhere. Lee, whom 
the press abused and even former friends began to regard 
as overrated, was assigned to command the Department 
of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida ; and her western 
counties were lost to the Old Dominion forever. It must 
have been a crushing blow to Lee at the time, but he bore 
it uncomplainingly. . . . And when all is said, no 
commander, however great, can succeed against bad 
roads, bad weather, sickness of troops, lack of judgment 
and harmony among subordinates, and a strong, alert 
enemy. Yet this is what Lee was expected to do." 

Mr. Davis, in an address before a memorial meeting at 
Richmond in 1870, speaking of General Lee in this cam- 
paign, said: 


" He came back, carrying the heavy weight of defeat, 
and unappreciated by the people whom he served, for they 
could not know, as I knew, that, if his plans and orders 
had been carried out, the result would have been victory 
rather than retreat. You did not know it; for I should 
not have known it had he not breathed it in my ear only 
at my earnest request, and begging that nothing be said 
about it. The clamour which then arose followed him 
when he went to South Carolina, so that it became neces- 
sary on his departure to write a letter to the Governor of 
that State, telling him what manner of man he was. Yet, 
through all this, with a magnanimity rarely equalled, he 
stood in silence, without defending himself or allowing 
others to defend him, for he was unwilling to offend any 
one who was wearing a sword and striking blows for the 

After returning to Richmond, my father resumed his 
position as adviser and counsellor to Mr. Davis. From 
there he writes to my mother, who had left the Hot Springs 
and gone on a visit to " Shirley," on James River: 

" Richmond, November 5, 1861. 
" My Dear Mary: I received last night your letter of the 
2d, and would have answered it at once, but was detained 
with the Secretary till after 11 p. m. I fear now I may 
miss the mail. Saturday evening I tried to get down to 
you to spend Sunday, but could find no government boat 
going down, and the passenger boats all go in the morning. 
I then went to the stable and got out my horse, but it was 
near night then and I was ignorant both of the road and 
distance and I gave it up. I was obliged to be here Mon- 
day, and as it would have consumed all Sunday to go 
and come, I have remained for better times. The Presi- 
dent said I could not go to-day, so I must see what can 
be done to-morrow. I will come, however, wherever you 
are, either Shirley or the White House, as soon as pos- 


sible, and if not sooner, Saturday at all events. . . . 
I am, as ever, Yours, 

"R. E. Lee." 

The day after this letter was written, my father was 
ordered to South Carolina for the purpose of directing 
and supervising the construction of a line of defense along 
the southern coast. I give here several letters to mem- 
bers of his family which tell of his duties and manner of 

" Savannah, November 18, 1861. 

" My Dear Mary: This is the first moment I have had 
to write to you, and now am waiting the call to breakfast, 
on my way to Brunswick, Fernandina, etc. This is my 
second visit to Savannah. Night before last, I returned 
to Coosa what chie, South Carolina, from Charleston, where 
I have placed my headquarters, and last night came here, 
arriving after midnight. I received in Charleston your 
letter from Shirley. It was a grievous disappointment 
to me not to have seen you, but better times will come, I 
hope. . . . You probably have seen the operations 
of the enemy's fleet. Since their first attack they have 
been quiescent apparently, confining themselves to Hil- 
ton Head, where they are apparently fortifying. 

" I have no time for more. Love to all. 

"Yours very affectionately and truly, 

"R. E. Lee." 

"Charleston, November 15, 1861. 
"My Precious Daughter: I have received your letter 
forwarded to Richmond by Mr. Powell, and I also got, 
while in the West, the letter sent by B. Turner. I can 
write but seldom, but your letters always give me great 
pleasure. I am glad you had such a pleasant visit to 
'Kinloch.' I have passed a great many pleasant days 
there myself in my young days. Now you must labour 
at your books and gain knowledge and wisdom. Do not 


mind what Rob says. I have a beautiful white beard. 
It is much admired. At least, much remarked on. You 
know I have told you not to believe what the young men 
tell you. I was unable to see your poor mother when in 
Richmond. Before I could get down I was sent off here. 
Another forlorn hope expedition. Worse than West 
Virginia. ... I have much to do in this country. 
I have been to Savannah and have to go again. The 
enemy is quiet after his conquest of Port Royal Harbor 
and his whole fleet is lying there. May God guard and 
protect you, my dear child, prays your 

''Affectionate father, 

"R. E. Lee." 

The above letter was written to his youngest daughter, 
Mildred, who was at school in Winchester, Virginia. 
Two of my sisters were in King George County, Virginia, 
at "Clydale," the summer home of Dr. Richard Stuart, 
with whose family we had been a long time intimate. 
From there they had driven to " Stratford," in Westmore- 
land County, about thirty miles distant, where my father 
was born. They had written him of this trip, and this is 
his reply: 

''Savannah, November 22, 1861. 
" My Darling Daughters: I have just received your joint 
letter of October 24th, from ' Clydale.' It was very cheer- 
ing to me, and the affection and sympathy you expressed 
were very grateful to my feelings. I wish indeed I could 
see you, be with you, and never again part from you. 
God only can give me that happiness. I pray for it night 
and day. But my prayers I know are not worthy to be 
heard. I received your former letter in western Virginia, 
but had no opportunity to reply to it. I enjoyed it, 
nevertheless. I am glad you do not wait to hear from 
me, as that would deprive me of the pleasure of hearing 
from you often. I am so pressed with business. I am 


much pleased at your description of Stratford and your 
visit. It is endeared to me by many recollections, 
and it has been always a great desire of my life to be 
able to purchase it. Now that we have no other home, 
and the one we so loved has been so foully polluted, 
the desire is stronger with me than ever. The horse- 
chestnut you mention in the garden was planted by my 
mother. I am sorry the vault is so dilapidated. You 
did not mention the spring, one of the objects of my 
earliest recollections. I am very glad, my precious 
Agnes, that you have become so early a riser. It is a 
good habit, and in these times for mighty works advan- 
tage should be taken of every hour. I much regretted 
being obliged to come from Richmond without seeing 
your poor mother. . . . This is my second visit to 
Savannah. I have been down the coast to Amelia 
Island to examine the defenses. They are poor indeed, 
and I have laid off work enough to employ our people a 
month. I hope our enemy will be polite enough to wait 
for us. It is difficult to get our people to realise their 
position. . . . Good-bye, my dear daughters. 
"Your affectionate father, 

"R. E. Lee." 

To his daughter Annie: 

"Coosawhatchie, South Carolina, 
"December 8, 1861. 
" My Precious Annie: I have taken the only quiet time 
I have been able to find on this holy day to thank you for 
your letter of the 29th ulto. One of the miseries of war is 
that there is no Sabbath, and the current of work and 
strife has no cessation. How can we be pardoned for all 
our offenses ! I am glad that you have joined your 
mamma again and that some of you are together at last. 
It would be a great happiness to me were you all at some 
quiet place, remote from the vicissitudes of war, where I 
could consider you safe. You must have had a pleasant 


time at 'Clydale.' I hope indeed that 'Cedar Grove' 
may be saved from the ruin and pillage that other places 
have received at the hands of our enemies, who are 
pursuing the same course here as they have practised 
elsewhere. Unfortunately, too, the numerous deep estu- 
aries, all accessible to their ships, expose the multitude 
of islands to their predatory excursions, and what they 
leave is finished by the negroes whose masters have 
deserted their plantations, subject to visitations of the 
enemy. I am afraid Cousin Julia* will not be able to 
defend her home if attacked by the vandals, for they have 
little respect for anybody, and if they catch the Doctor* 
they will certainly send him to Fort Warren or La Fayette. 
I fear, too, the Yankees will bear off their pretty daugh- 
ters. I am very glad you visited * Chatham.'! I was 
there many years ago, when it was the residence of Judge 
Coulter, and some of the avenues of poplar, so dear to 
your grandmama, still existed. I presume they have 
all gone now. The letter that you and Agnes wrote from 
1 Clydale ' I replied to and sent to that place. You know 
I never have any news. I am trying to get a force to 
make headway on our defenses, but it comes in very 
slow. The people do not seem to realise that there is a 

"It is very warm here, if that is news, and as an evi- 
dence I inclose some violets I plucked in the yard of a 
deserted house I occupy. I wish I could see you and give 
them in person. . . . Good-bye, my precious child. 
Give much love to everybody, and believe me, 
"Your affectionate father, 

"R. E. Lee." 

From the same place, on December 2d, he writes to 
my mother: 

"I received last night, dear Mary, your letter of the 
12th, and am delighted to learn that you are all well and 

* Doctor and Mrs. Richard Stuart. 

t The home of the Fitzhughs, where my grandmother Custis was 


so many of you are together. I am much pleased that 
Fitzhugh has an opportunity to be with you all and will 
not be so far removed from his home in his new field of 
action. I hope to see him at the head of a fine regiment 
and that he will be able to do good service in the cause of 
his country. If Mary and Rob get to you Christmas, you 
will have quite a family party, especially if Fitzhugh is 
not obliged to leave his home and sweet wife before that 
time. I shall think of you all on that holy day more 
intensely than usual, and shall -pray to the great God of 
Heaven to shower His blessings upon you in this world, 
and to unite you all in His courts in the world to come. 
With a grateful heart I thank Him for His preservation 
thus far, and trust to His mercy and kindness for the 
future. Oh, that I were more worthy, more thankful 
for all He has done and continues to do for me ! Perry 
and Meredith * send their respects to all. . . . 
"Truly and affectionately, 

"R. E. Lee." 

From the same place, on Christmas Day, he writes to 
my mother: 

" I cannot let this day of grateful rejoicing pass, dear 
Mary, without some communication with you. I am 
thankful for the many among the past that I have passed 
with you, and the remembrance of them fills me with 
pleasure. For those on which we have been separated 
we must not repine. If it will make us more resigned 
and better prepared for what is in store for us, we should 
rejoice. Now we must be content with the many blessings 
we receive. If we can only become sensible of our trans- 
gressions, so as to be fully penitent and forgiven, that this 
heavy punishment under which we labour may with jus- 
tice be removed from us and the whole nation, what a 
gracious consummation of all that we have endured it 
will be ! 

* His two coloured servants. 


" I hope you had a pleasant visit to Richmond. . . . 
If you were to see this place, I think you would have it, 
too. I am here but little myself. The days I am not 
here I visit some point exposed to the enemy, and after 
our dinner at early candle-light, am engaged in writing 
till eleven or twelve o'clock at night. . . . As to our 
old home, if not destroyed, it will be difficult ever to be 
recognised. Even if the enemy had wished to preserve 
it, it would almost have been impossible. With the 
number of troops encamped around it, the change of 
officers, etc., the want of fuel, shelter, etc., and all the dire 
necessities of war, it is vain to think of its being in a habit- 
able condition. I fear, too, books, furniture, and the 
relics of Mount Vernon will be gone. It is better to make 
up our minds to a general loss. They cannot take aw T ay 
the remembrance of the spot, and the memories of those 
that to us rendered it sacred. That will remain to us as 
long as life will last, and that we can preserve. In the 
absence of a home, I wish I could purchase 'Stratford.' 
That is the only other place that I could go to, now acces- 
sible to us, that would inspire me with feelings of pleasure 
and local love. You and the girls could remain there in 
quiet. It is a poor place, but we could make enough corn- 
bread and bacon for our support, and the girls could 
weave us clothes. I wonder if it is for sale and at how 
much. Ask Fitzhugh to try to find out, when he gets to 
Fredericksburg. You must not build your hopes on peace 
on account of the United States going into a war with 
England.* She will be very loath to do that, notwithstand- 
ing the bluster of the Northern papers. Her rulers are 
not entirely mad, and if they find England is in earnest, 
and that war or a restitution of their captives must be the 
consequence, they will adopt the latter. We must make 
up our minds to fight our battles and win our indepen- 
dence alone. No one will help us. We require no extra- 
neous aid, if true to ourselves. But we must be patient. 
It is not a light achievement and cannot be accomplished 

* On account of the Trent affair. 


at once. ... I wrote a few days since, giving you 
all the news, and have now therefore nothing to relate. 
The enemy is still quiet and increasing in strength. We 
grow in size slowly but are working hard. I have had a 
day of labour instead of rest, and have written at intervals 
to some of the children. I hope they are with you, and 
inclose my letters. . . . 

' 'Affectionately and truly, 

"R. E. Lee." 

In the next letter to my mother he describes a visit to 
the grave of his father at Dungeness, on Cumberland 
Island, Georgia. Dungeness was presented to General 
Nathaniel Green by the State of Georgia for services ren- 
dered her in the Revolution. General Henry Lee, return- 
ing from the West Indies, where he had been for some 
months on account of his health, landed there, and in a 
few days died, March 15,1818. He was most kindly cared 
for by the daughter of his old commander, and was 
buried there in the garden of Dungeness. At the time 
of my father's visit the place belonged to a great-nephew 
of General Green, Mr. Nightingale. 

"Coosawhatchie, South Carolina, 
"January 18, 1862. 
"On my return, day before yesterday, from Florida, 
dear Mary, I received your letter of the 1st inst. I am very 
glad to find that you had a pleasant family meeting 
Christmas, and that it was so large. I am truly grateful 
for all the mercies we enjoy, notwithstanding the miseries 
of war, and join heartily in the wish that the next year 
may find us at peace with all the world. I am delighted 
to hear that our little grandson* is improving so fast 
and is becoming such a perfect gentleman. May his path 
be strewn with flowers and his life with happiness. I am 

* His first grandchild — son of my brother Fitzhugh. He died in 


very glad to hear also that his dear papa is promoted. It 
will be gratifying to him and increase, I hope, his means 
of usefulness. Robert wrote me he saw him on his way 
through Charlottesville with his squadron, and that he 
was well. While at Fernandina I went over to Cumber- 
land Island and walked up to 'Dungeness,' the former 
residence of General Green. It was my first visit to the 
house, and I had the gratification at length of visiting my 
father's grave. He died there, you may recollect, on his 
way from the West Indies, and was interred in one corner 
of the family cemetery. The spot is marked by a plain 
marble slab, with his name, age, and date of his death. 
Mrs. Green is also buried there, and her daughter, Mrs. 
Shaw, and her husband. The place is at present owned 
by Mr. Nightingale, nephew of Airs. Shaw, who married a 
daughter of Mr. James King. The family have moved 
into the interior of Georgia, leaving only a few servants 
and a white gardener on the place. The garden was 
beautiful, inclosed by the finest hedge I have ever seen. 
It was of the wild olive. The orange trees were small, 
and the orange grove, which, in Mrs. Shaw's lifetime, dur- 
ing my tour of duty in Savannah in early life, was so 
productive, had been destroyed by an insect that has 
proved fatal to the orange on the coast of Georgia and 
Florida. There was a fine grove of olives, from which, 
I learn, Mr. Nightingale procures oil. The garden was 
rilled with roses and beautiful vines, the names of which 
I do not know. Among them was the tomato-vine in full 
bearing, with the ripe fruit on it. There has yet been no 
frost in that region of country this winter. I went in the 
dining-room and parlour, in which the furniture still 
remained. . . . The house has never been finished, 
but is a fine, large one and beautifully located. A magni- 
ficent grove of live-oaks envelops the road from the 
landing to the house. . . . Love to everybody and 
God bless you all. 

" Trulv and faithfully yours, 

"R. E. Lee." 


From the same place there is another letter to my 
mother : 

" Coosa whatchie, South Carolina, 
* 'January 28, 1862. 
"I have just returned from Charleston, and received 
your letter of the 14th, dear Mary. ... I was called 
to Charleston by the appearance off the bar of a fleet of 
vessels the true character and intent of which could not 
be discerned during the continuance of the storm which 
obscured the view. Saturday, however, all doubt was 
dispelled, and from the beach on Sullivan's Island the 
preparations for sinking them were plainly seen. Twenty- 
one were visible the first day of my arrival, but at the end 
of the storm, Saturday, only seventeen were seen. Five 
of these were vessels of war: what became of the other 
four is not known. The twelve old merchantmen were 
being stripped of their spars, masts, etc., and by sunset 
seven were prepared apparently for sinking across the 
mouth of the Maffitt Channel. They were placed in a 
line about two hundred yards apart, about four miles 
from Fort Moultrie. They will do but little harm to the 
channel, I think, but may deter vessels from running out 
at night for fear of getting on them. There now seem to 
be indications of a movement against Savannah. The 
enemy's gunboats are pushing up the creek to cut off 
communication between the city and Fort Pulaski on 
Cockspur Island. Unless I have better news, I most go 
there to-day. There are so many points of attack, and 
so little means to meet them on water, that there is but 
little rest. . . . Perry and Meredith are well and 
send regards to everybody. . . . 

"Very truly and sincerely yours, 

"R. E. Lee." 

It was most important that the defenses of Charleston 
and Savannah should be made as strong as possible. The 
difficulties in the way were many and great, but General 


Lee's perseverance overcame most of them. The result 
was that neither of those cities fell till the close of the 
war, and a region of country was preserved to the Con- 
federacy necessary for the feeding of its armies. Of course 
all of this was not accomplished by my father alone in the 
four months he was there; but the plans of defense he 
laid down were successfully followed. 

While in Savannah, he writes to my mother: 

" Savannah, February 8, 1862. 

"I wrote to you, dear Mary, the day I left Coosa- 
whatchie for this place. I have been here ever since, 
endeavouring to push forward the work for the defense of 
the city, which has lagged terribly and which ought to 
have been finished. But it is difficult to arouse our- 
selves from ease and comfort to labour and self-denial. 

"Guns are scarce, as well as ammunition, and I shall 
have to break up batteries on the coast to provide, I fear, 
for this city. Our enemies are endeavouring to work 
their way through the creeks that traverse the impassable 
and soft marshes stretching along the interior of the coast 
and communicating with the sounds and sea, through 
which the Savannah flows, and thus avoid the entrance 
of the river commanded by Fort Pulaski. Their boats 
require only seven feet of water to float them, and the 
tide rises seven feet, so that at high water they can work 
their way and rest on the mud at low. They are also 
provided with dredges and appliances for removing 
obstructions through the creeks in question, which can- 
not be guarded by batteries. I hope, however, we shall 
be able to stop them, and I daily pray to the Giver of all 
victories to enable us to do so. . . . I trust you are 
all well and doing well, and wish I could do anything to 
promote either. I have more here than I can do, and 
more, I fear, than I can well accomplish. It is so very 
hard to get anything done, and while all wish well and 
mean well, it is so different to get them to act energetically 


and promptly. . . . The news from Kentucky and 
Tennessee is not favourable, but we must make up our 
minds to meet with reverses and overcome them. I hope 
God will at last crown our efforts with success. But the 
contest must be long and severe, and the whole country 
has to go through much suffering. It is necessary we 
should be humbled and taught to be less boastful, less 
selfish, and more devoted to right and justice to all the 
world. . . . Always yours, 

"R. E. Lee." 

To my mother: 

"Savannah, February 23, 1862. 

" I have been wishing, dear Mary, to write to you for 
more than a week, but every day and every hour seem 
so taken up that I have found it impossible. . . . 
The news from Tennessee and North Carolina is not all 
cheering, and disasters seem to be thickening around us. 
It calls for renewed energies and redoubled strength on 
our part, and, I hope, will produce it. I fear our soldiers 
have not realised the necessity for the endurance and 
labour they are called upon to undergo, and that it is 
better to sacrifice themselves than our cause. God, I 
hope, will shield us and give us success. Here the enemy 
is progressing slowly in his designs, and does not seem 
prepared, or to have determined when or where to make 
his attack. His gunboats are pushing up all the creeks 
and marshes of the Savannah, and have attained a posi- 
tion so near the river as to shell the steamers navigating 
it. None have as yet been struck. I am engaged in 
constructing a line of defense at Fort Jackson which, if 
time permits and guns can be obtained, I hope will keep 
them out. They can bring such overwhelming force in 
all their movements that it has the effect to demoralise 
our new troops. The accounts given in the papers of the 
quantity of cotton shipped to New York are, of course, 
exaggerated. It is cotton in the seed and dirt, and has 
to be ginned and cleaned after its arrival. It is said that 


the negroes are employed in picking and collecting it, 
and are paid a certain amount. But all these things are 
gathered fiom rumour, and can only be believed as they 
appear probable, which this seems to be. . . . I 
went yesterday to church, being the day appointed for 
fasting and prayer. I wish I could have passed it more 
devoutly. The bishop (Elliott) gave a most beautiful 
prayer for the President, which I hope may be heard and 
answered. . . . Here the yellow jasmine, red-bud, 
orange-tree, etc., perfume the whole woods, and the 
japonicas and azaleas cover the garden. Perry and 
Meredith are well. May God bless and keep you always 
is the constant prayer of vour husband, 

"R. E. Lee." 

To his daughter Annie: 

"Savannah, March 2, 1862. 
11 My Precious Annie: It has been a long time since I 
have written to you, but you have been constantly in 
my thoughts. I think of you all, separately and col- 
lectively, in the busy hours of the day and the silent 
"hours of the night, and the recollection of each and 
every one whiles away the long night, in which my 
anxious thoughts drive away sleep. But I always feel 
that you and Agnes at those times are sound asleep, 
and that it is immaterial to either where the blockaders 
are or what their progress is in the river. I hope you 
are all well, and as happy as you can be in these perilous 
times to our country. They look dark at present, and it 
is plain we have not suffered enough, laboured enough, 
repented enough, to deserve success. But they will 
brighten after awhile, and I trust that a merciful God 
will arouse us to a sense of our danger, bless our honest 
efforts, and drive back our enemies to their homes. Our 
people have not been earnest enough, have thought too 
much of themselves and their ease, and instead of turn- 
ing out to a man, have been content to nurse themselves 
and their dimes, and leave the protection of themselves 


and families to others. To satisfy their consciences, 
they have been clamorous in criticising what others have 
done, and endeavoured to prove that they ought to do 
nothing. This is not the way to accomplish our inde- 
pendence. I have been doing all I can with our small 
means and slow workmen to defend the cities and coast 
here. Against ordinary numbers we are pretty strong, 
but against the hosts our enemies seem able to bring 
everywhere there is no calculating. But if our men will 
stand to their work, we shall give them trouble and 
damage them yet. They have worked their way across 
the marshes, with their dredges, under cover of their 
gunboats, to the Savannah River, about Fort Pulaski. I 
presume they will endeavour to reduce the fort and thus 
open a way for their vessels up the river. But we have 
an interior line they must force before reaching the city. 
It is on this line we are working, slowly to my anxious 
mind, but as fast as I can drive them. . . . Good- 
bye, my dear child. May God bless you and our poor 

''Your devoted father, 

"R. E. Lee." 

Soon after this letter was written my father was re- 
called to Richmond, "and was assigned on the 13th of 
March, under the direction of the President, to the 
conduct of the military operations of all the armies of 
the Confederate States."* My mother was still at the 
White House, my brother's place on the Pamunkey, and 
there my father wrote to her : 

"Richmond, March 14, 1862. 

" My Dear Mary: I have been trying all the week to 

write to you, but have not been able. I have been 

placed on duty here to conduct operations under the 

direction of the President. It will give me great pleasure 

*" Four Years with General Lee." 


to do anything I can to relieve him and serve the country, 
but I do not see either advantage or pleasure in my 
duties. But I will not complain, but do my best. I do 
not see at present either that it will enable me to see 
much more of you. In the present condition of affairs 
no one can foresee what may happen, nor in my judg- 
ment is it advisable for any one to make arrangements 
with a view to permanency or pleasure. We must all 
do what promises the most usefulness. The presence of 
some one at the White House is necessary as long as 
practicable. How long it will be practicable for you and 
Charlotte to remain there I cannot say. The enemy is 
pushing us back in all directions, and how far he will be 
successful depends much upon our efforts and the mercy 
of Providence. I shall, in all human probability, soon 
have to take the field, so for the present I think things 
had better remain as they are. Write me your views. 
If you think it best for you to come to Richmond I can 
soon make arrangements for your comfort and shall be 
very glad of your company and presence. We have 
experienced a great affliction both in our private and 
public relations. Our good and noble Bishop Meade 
died last night. He was very anxious to see you, sent 
you his love and kindest remembrances, and had I known 
in time yesterday I should have sent expressly for you 
to come up. But I did not know of his wish or condition 
till after the departure of the cars yesterday. Between 
6 and 7p.11. yesterday he sent for me, said he wished to 
bid me good-bye, and to give me his blessing, which he 
did in the most affecting manner. Called me Robert and 
reverted to the time I used to say the catechism to him. 
He invoked the blessing of God upon me and the country. 
He spoke with difficulty and pain, but was perfectly 
calm and clear. His hand was then cold and pulseless, 
yet he shook mine warmly. 'I ne'er shall look upon his 
like again.' He died during the night. I presume the 
papers of to-morrow will tell you all. . . . 
"Very truly and sincerely, 

"R. E. Lee." 


The next day he again writes to my mother. 

"Richmond, March 15, 1862. 
"My Dear Mary: I wrote you yesterday by mail. On 
returning to my quarters last night after 11 p. m. Custis 
informed me Robert had arrived and had made up his 
mind to go into the army. He stayed at the Spottswood, 
and this morning I went with him to get his overcoat, 
blankets, etc. There is great difficulty in procuring 
what is good. They all have' to be made, and he has 
gone to the office of the adjutant -general of Virginia to 
engage in the service. God grant it may be for his good 
as He has permitted it. I must be resigned. I told him 
of the exemption granted by the Secretary of War to the 
professors and students of the university, but he expressed 
no desire to take advantage of it. It would be useless 
for him to go, if he did not improve himself, nor would I 
wish him to go merely for exemption. As I have done 
all in the matter that seems proper and right, I must 
now leave the rest in the hands of our merciful God. I 
hope our son will do his duty and make a good soldier. 
. . . I had expected yesterday to go to North Caro- 
lina this morning, but the President changed his mind. 
I should like to go to see you to-morrow, but in the 
present condition of things do not feel that I ought to 
be absent. . . I may have to go to North Carolina or 
Norfolk yet. New Berne, N. C, has fallen into the hands 
of the enemy. In Arkansas our troops under Van Dorn 
have had a hard battle, but nothing decisive gained. 
Four generals killed — Mcintosh, McCullogh, Herbert, 
and Slack. General Price wounded. Loss on both 
sides said to be heavy. . . . 

"Very truly yours, 

"R. E. Lee." 


Army Life of Robert the Younger 

volunteer in rockbridge artillery " four years 

with general lee " quoted meetings between 

father and son personal characteristics of 

the general death of his daughter, annie 

his son robert raised from the ranks the 

horses, "grace darling " and "traveller" 

fredericksburg freeing slaves 

Like all the students at the university, I was wild to 
go- into the army, and wrote my father that I was afraid 
the war would be over before I had a chance to serve. 
His reply was that I need have no fear of that contin- 
gency, that I must study, hard and fit myself to be useful 
to my country when I was old enough to be of real service 
to her; so, very properly, I was not allowed to have my 
wish then. In a letter to my mother written April, '6 1 , 
he says: 

" I wrote to Robert that I could not consent to take 
boys from their schools and young men from their colleges 
and put them in the ranks at the beginning of a war, 
when they are not wanted and when there were men 
enough for that purpose. The war may last ten years. 
Where are our ranks to be filled from then? I was 
willing for his company to continue at their studies, to 
keep up its organisation, and to perfect themselves in 
their military exercises, and to perform duty at the col- 
lege; but not to be called into the field. I therefore 

6 9 


wished him to remain. If the exercises at the college 
are suspended, he can then come home. . . ." 

But in the spring of '62 he allowed me to volunteer, 
and I having selected the company I wished to join, the 
Rockbridge Artillery, he gave his approval, and wrote 
me to come to Richmond, where he would give me my 
outfit. He was just as sweet and loving to me then as 
in the old days. I had seen so little of him during the 
last six years that I stood somewhat in awe of him. I 
soon found, however, that I had no cause for such a 
feeling. He took great pains in getting what was neces- 
sary for me. The baggage of a private in a Confederate 
battery was not extensive. How little was needed my 
father, even at that time, did not know, for though he 
was very careful in providing me with the least amount 
he thought necessary, I soon found by experience that he 
had given me a great deal too much. It was characteristic 
of his consideration for others and the unselfishness of 
his nature, that at this time, when weighed down, harassed 
and burdened by the cares incident to bringing the 
untrained forces of the Confederacy into the field, and 
preparing them for a struggle the seriousness of which 
he knew better than any one, he should give his time 
and attention to the minute details of fitting out his 
youngest son as a private soldier. I think it worthy of 
note that the son of the commanding general enlisting as 
a private in his army was not thought to be anything re- 
markable or unusual. Neither my mother, my family, my 
friends nor myself expected any other course, and I do not 
suppose it ever occurred to my father to think of giving 
me an office, which he could easily have done. I know 
it never occurred to me, nor did I ever hear, at that time 


or afterwards, from anyone, that I might have been 
entitled to better rank than that of a private because of 
my father's prominence in Virginia and in the Confed- 
eracy. With the good advice to be obedient to all 
authority, to do my duty in everything, great or small, 
he bade me good-bye, and sent me off to the Valley of 
Virginia, where the command in which I was about to 
enlist were serving under " Stonewall Jackson. " 

Of my father's military duties at this time, Colonel 
Taylor, in his " Four Years with General Lee, " says: 

" Exercising a constant supervision over the condition 
of affairs at each important point, thoroughly informed as 
to the resources and necessities of the several commanders 
of armies in the field, as well as of the dangers which 
respectively threatened them, he was enabled to give 
them wise counsel, to offer them valuable suggestions, 
and to respond to their demands for assistance and sup- 
port to such extent as the limited resources of the gov- 
ernment would permit. It was in great measure due to 
his advice and encouragement that General Magruder so 
stoutly and so gallantly held his lines on the Peninsula 
against General McClellan until troops could be sent to 
his relief from General Johnston's army. I recollect a 
telegraphic despatch received by General Lee from 
General Magruder, in which he stated that a council of 
war which he had convened had unanimously determined 
that his army should retreat, in reply to which General 
Lee urged him to maintain his lines, and to make as bold 
a front as possible, and encouraged him with the prospect 
of being early reinforced. No better illustration of the 
nature and importance of the duty performed by General 
Lee, while in this position, can be given than the following 
letter — one of a number of similar import — written by 
him to General Jackson, the 'rough' or original draft of 
which is still in my possession: 


'"Headquarters, Richmond, Virginia, 
"'April 29, 1862. 
"'Major-General T. J. Jackson, commanding, etc., 
Swift Run Gap, Virginia. 
" ' General: I have had the honour to receive your let- 
ter of yesterday's date. From the reports that reach me 
that are entitled to credit, the force of the enemy opposite 
Fredericksburg is represented as too large to admit of any 
diminution whatever of our army in that vicinity at pres- 
ent, as it might not only invite an attack on Richmond, 
but jeopard the safety of the army in the Peninsula. I 
regret, therefore, that your request to have five thousand 
men sent from that army to reinforce you cannot be com- 
plied with. Can you not draw enough from the command 
of General Edward Johnson to warrant you in attacking 
Banks ? The last return received from that army show a 
present force of upward of thirty-five hundred, which, it 
is hoped, has since increased by recruits and returned fur- 
loughs. As he does not appear to be pressed, it is sug- 
gested that a portion of his force might be temporarily 
removed from its present position and made available for 
the movement in question. A decisive and successful 
blow at Banks's column would be fraught with the hap- 
piest results, and I deeply regret my inability to send you 
the reinforcements you ask. If, however, you think the 
combined forces of Generals Ewell and Johnson, with 
your own, inadequate for the move, General Ewell might, 
with the assistance of General Anderson's army near 
Fredericksburg, strike at McDowell's army between that 
city and Ac quia, with much promise of success ; provided 
you feel sufficiently strong alone to hold Banks in check. 
"'Very truly yours, 

'"R. Ec Lee.' 

"The reader will observe that this letter bears the date 
'April 29, 1862.' On May 5th or 6th, General Jackson 
formed a junction between his own command and that of 
General Edward Johnson ; on May 8th, he defeated Milroy 


at McDowell. Soon thereafter, the command of General 
Ewell was united to that already under Jackson, and on 
the 25th of the same month Banks was defeated and put 
to flight. Other incidents might be cited to illustrate 
this branch of the important service rendered at this 
period by General Lee. The line of earthworks 
around the city of Richmond, and other preparations 
for resisting an attack, testified to the immense care 
and labour bestowed upon the defense of the capital, 
so seriously threatened by the army of General 

On May 31st, the battle of Seven Pines was fought, and 
General Joseph E. Johnston, commanding the Con- 
federate Army, was severely wounded. The next day, 
by order of the President, General Lee took command of 
the Army of Northern Virginia. 

The day after the battle of Cold Harbor, during the 
"Seven Days" righting around Richmond, was the first 
time I met my father after I had joined General Jackson. 
The tremendous work Stonewall's men had performed, 
including the rapid march from the Valley of Virginia, 
the short rations, the bad water, and the great heat, had 
begun to tell upon us, and I was pretty well worn out. 
On this particular morning, my battery had not moved 
from its bivouac ground of the previous night, but was 
parked in an open field all ready, waiting orders. Most 
of the men were lying down, many sleeping, myself among 
the latter number. To get some shade and to be out of 
the way, I had crawled under a caisson, and was busy 
making up many lost hours of rest. Suddenly I was 
rudely awakened by a comrade, prodding me with a 
sponge-staff as I had failed to be aroused by his call, and 
was told to get up and come out, that some one wished to 
see me. Half awake, I staggered out, and found myself 


face to face with General Lee and his staff. Their fresh 
uniforms, bright equipments and well-groomed horses 
contrasted so forcibly with the war-worn appearance of 
our command that I was completely dazed. It took me 
a moment or two to realise what it all meant, but when I 
saw my father's loving eyes and smile it became clear to 
me that he had ridden by to see if I was safe and to ask 
how I was getting along. I remember well how curiously 
those with him gazed at me, and I am sure that it must 
have struck them as very odd that such a dirty, ragged, 
unkempt youth could have been the son of this grand- 
looking victorious commander. 

I was introduced recently to a gentleman, now living 
in Washington, who, when he found out my name, said he 
had met me once before and that it was on this occasion. 
At that time he was a member of the Tenth Virginia Infan- 
try, Jackson's Division, and was camped near our battery. 
Seeing General Lee and staff approach, he, with others, 
drew near to have a look at them, and thus witnessed the 
meeting between father and son. He also said that he 
had often told of this incident as illustrating the peculiar 
composition of our army. 

After McClellan's change of base to Harrison's Landing 
on James River, the army lay inactive around Richmond. 
I had a short furlough on account of sickness, and saw 
my father; also my mother and sisters, who were then 
living in Richmond. He was the same loving father to 
us all, as kind and thoughtful of my mother, who was an 
invalid, and of us, his children, as if our comfort and hap- 
piness were all he had to care for. His great victory did 
not elate him, so far as one could see. In a letter of July 
9th, to my mother, he says : 


". . . I have returned to my old quarters and am 
filled with gratitude to our Heavenly Father for all the 
mercies He has extended to us. Our success has not been 
so great or complete as we could have desired, but God 
knows what is best for us. Our enemy met with a heavy 
loss, from which it must take him some time to recover, 
before he can recommence his operations. . . ." 

The Honourable Alexander H. Stephens, Vice-President 
of the Confederate States, says of General Lee : 

"What I had seen General Lee to be at first — child-like 
in simplicity and unselfish in his character — he remained, 
unspoiled by praise and by success." 

He was the same in victory or defeat, always calm and 
contained. Jackson, having had a short rest, was now 
moved up to Gordonsville. I rejoined my command and 
went with him, supplied with new clothes and a fresh 
stock of health. In a letter to his three daughters who 
were in North Carolina, dated Richmond, July 18, 1862, 
'he writes describing my condition : 

" Rob came out to see me one afternoon. He had been 
much worn down by his marching and fighting, and had 
gone to his mamma to get a little rest. He was thin but 
well, but, not being able to get a clean shirt, has not got 
to see Miss Norvell. He has rejoined his company and 
gone off with General Jackson, as good as new again, I 
hope, inasmuch as your mother thought, by means of a 
bath and a profusion of soap, she had cleansed the out- 
ward man considerably, and replenished his lost ward- 

From Gordonsville we were moved on to Orange County, 
and then commenced that series of manoeuvres by the 
Army of Northern Virginia, beginning with the battle of 
Cedar Mountain and ending with second Manassas. 


When I again saw my father, he rode at the head of 
Longstreet's men on the field of Manassas, and we of 
Jackson's corps, hard pressed for two days, welcomed him 
and the divisions which followed him with great cheers. 
Two rifle -guns from our battery had been detached and 
sent to join Longstreet's advance artillery, under General 
Stephen D. Lee, moving into action on our right. I was 
" Number i " at one of these guns. We advanced rapidly, 
from hill to hill, firing as fast as we could, trying to keep 
ahead of our gallant comrades, just arrived. As we were 
ordered to cease firing from the last position we took, and 
the breathless cannoneers were leaning on their guns, 
General Lee and staff galloped up, and from this point of 
vantage scanned the movements of the enemy and of our 
forces. The general reined in "Traveller" close by my 
gun, not fifteen feet from me. I looked at them all some 
few minutes, and then went up and spoke to Captain 
Mason of the staff, who had not the slightest idea who I 
was. When he found me out he was greatly amused, and 
introduced me to several others whom I already knew. 
My appearance was even less prepossessing than when I 
had met my father at Cold Harbour, for I had been march- 
ing night and day for four days, with no opportunity to 
wash myself or my clothes; my face and hands were 
blackened with powder-sweat, and the few garments I 
had on were ragged and stained with the red soil of that 
section. When the General, after a moment or two, 
dropped his glass to his side, and turned to his staff, 
Captain Mason said: 

" General, here is some one who wants to speak to you." 

The General, seeing a much-begrimed artillery-man, 
sponge-staff in hand, said: 

"Well, my man, what can I do for you?" I replied: 


" Why, General, don't you know me ?" and he, of course, 
at once recognised me, and was very much amused at my 
appearance and most glad to see that I was safe and well. 

We, of the ranks, used to have our opinions on all 
subjects. The armies, their generals, and their manoeu- 
vres were freely discussed. If there was one point on 
which the entire army was unanimous — I speak of the 
rank and file — it was that we were not in the least afraid 
of General Pope, but were perfectly sure of whipping him 
whenever we could meet him. The passages I quote here 
from two of General Lee's letters indicate that this feeling 
may possibly have extended to our officers. In a letter 
to my mother, from near Richmond, dated July 28, 1862, 
he says: 

". ,. . When you write to Rob, tell him to catch 
Pope for me, and also bring in his cousin, Louis Marshall, 
who, I am told, is on his staff. I could forgive the latter's 
fighting against us, but not his joining Pope." 

And again: 

". . . Johnny Lee* saw Louis Marshall after Jack- 
son's last battle, who asked him kindly after his old 
uncle, and said his mother was well. Johnny said Louis 
looked wretched himself. I am sorry he is in such bad 
company, but I suppose he could not help it." 

As one of the Army of Northern Virginia, I occasionally 
saw the commander-in-chief, on the march, or passed the 
headquarters close enough to recognise him and members 
of his staff, but a private soldier in Jackson's corps did 
not have much time, during that campaign, for visiting, 
and until the battle of Sharpsburg I had no opportunity 

*His nephew. 


of speaking to him. On that occasion our battery had 
been severely handled, losing many men and horses. 
Having three guns disabled, we were ordered to with- 
draw, and while moving back we passed General Lee and 
several of his staff, grouped on a little knoll near the road. 
Having no definite orders where to go, our captain, seeing 
the commanding general, halted us and rode over to get 
some instructions. Some others and myself went along 
to see and hear. General Lee was dismounted with some 
of his staff around him, a courier holding his horse. 
Captain Poague, commanding our battery, the Rock- 
bridge Artillery, saluted, reported our condition, and 
asked for instructions. The General, listening patiently, 
looked at us — his eyes passing over me without any sign 
of recognition — and then ordered Captain Poague to take 
the most serviceable horses and men, man the uninjured 
gun, send the disabled part of his command back to refit, 
and report to the front for duty. As Poague turned to 
go, I went up to speak to my father. When he found out 
who I was, he congratulated me on being well and unhurt. 
I then said: 

" General, are you going to send us in again ? " 

" Yes, my son," he replied, with a smile ; " you all must 
do what you can to help drive these people back." 

This meeting between General Lee and his son has 
been told very often and in many different ways, but the 
above is what I remember of the circumstances. 

He was much on foot during this part of the campaign, 
and moved about either in an ambulance or on horse- 
back, with a courier leading his horse. The accident 
which temporarily disabled him happened before he 
left Virginia. He had dismounted, and was sitting on a 
fallen log, with the bridle reins hung over his arm. Travel- 


ler, becoming frightened at something, suddenly dashed 
away, threw him violently to the ground, spraining both 
hands and breaking a small bone in one of them. A 
letter written some weeks afterward to my mother 
alludes to this meeting with his son, and to the condition 
of his hands : 

. . . I have not laid eyes on Rob since I saw 
him in the battle of Sharpsburg — going in with a single 
gun of his for the second time, after his company had been 
withdrawn in consequence of three of its guns having 
been disabled. Custis has seen him and says he is very 
well, and apparently happy and content. My hands are 
improving slowly, and, with my left hand, I am able to 
dress and undress myself, which is a great comfort. My 
right is becoming of some assistance, too, though it is 
still swollen and sometimes painful. The bandages have 
been removed. I am now able to sign my name. It has 
been six weeks to-day since I was injured, and I have at 
last discarded the sling." 

After the army recrossed the Potomac into Virginia, 
we were camped for some time in the vicinity of Win- 
chester. One beautiful afternoon in October, a courier 
from headquarters rode up to our camp, found me out, 
and handed me a note from my father. It told me of 
the death 01 my sister Annie. As I have lost this letter 
to me, I quote from one to my mother about the same 
time. It was dated October 26, 1862: 

" . . . I cannot express the anguish I feel at the 
death of our sweet Annie. To know that I shall never 
see her again on earth, that her place in our circle, which 
I always hoped one day to enjoy, is forever vacant, is 
agonising in the extreme. But God in this, as in all 
things, has mingled mercy with the blow, in selecting 


that one best prepared to leave us. May you be able to 
join me in saying 'His will be done!' ... I know 
how much you will grieve and how much she will be 
mourned. I wish I could give you any comfort, but 
beyond our hope in the great mercy of God, and the 
belief that He takes her at the time and place when it is 
best for her to go, there is none. May that same mercy 
be extended to us all, and may we be prepared for His 

In a letter to my sister Mary, one month later, from 
"Camp near Fredericksburg": 

" . . , The death of my dear Annie was, indeed, 
to me a bitter pang, but ' the Lord gave and the Lord 
has taken away: blessed be the name of the Lord.' In 
the quiet hours of the night, when there is nothing to 
lighten the full weight of my grief, I feel as if I should 
be overwhelmed. I have always counted, if God should 
spare me a few days after this Civil War was ended, that 
I should have her with me, but year after year my hopes 
go out, and I must be resigned. . . . 

To this daughter whose loss grieved him so he was 
specially devoted. She died in North Carolina, at the 
Warren White Sulphur Springs. At the close of the war, 
the citizens of the county erected over her grave a hand- 
some monument. General Lee was invited to be present 
at the ceremonies of the unveiling. In his reply, he says : 

. . . I have always cherished the intention of 
visiting the tomb of her who never gave me aught but 
pleasure; . . . Though absent in person, my heart 
will be with you, and my sorrow and devotions will be 
mingled with yours. ... I inclose, according to 
your request, the date of my daughter's birth and the 
inscription proposed for the monument over her tomb. 


The latter are the last lines of the hymn which she asked 
for just before her death." 

A visitor to her grave, some years after the war, thus 
describes it: 

" In the beautiful and quiet graveyard near the Springs, 
a plain shaft of native granite marks the grave of this 
beloved daughter. On one side is cut in the stone, 
'Annie C. Lee, daughter of General R. E. Lee and Mary 

C. Lee' — and on the opposite — 'Born at Arlington, June 
1 8, 1839, and died at White Sulphur Springs, Warren 
County, North Carolina, Oct. 20, 1862.' On another 
side are the lines selected by her father, 

' ' Perfect and true are all His ways 
Whom heaven adores and earth obeys." 

That autumn I was offered the position of Lt. and A. 

D. C. on the staff of my brother, W. H. F. Lee, just pro- 
moted from the colonelcy of the 9th Virginia Cavalry 
to the command of a brigade in the same arm of the ser- 
vice. My father had told me when I joined the army 
to do my whole duty faithfully, not to be rash about 
volunteering for any service out of my regular line, and 
always to accept promotion. After consulting him, it 
was decided that I should take the position offered, and 
he presented me with a horse and one of his swords. My 
promotion necessitated my having an honourable dis- 
charge as a private, from the ranks, and this I obtained 
in the proper way from General "Stonewall" Jackson, 
commanding the corps of which my company was a part, 
and was thus introduced for the first time to that remark- 
able man. Having served in his command since my 
enlistment, I had been seeing him daily. "Old Jack," 


at a distance, was as familiar to me as one of the battery 
guns, but I had never met him, and felt much awe at 
being ushered into his presence. This feeling, however, 
was groundless, for he was seemingly so much embar- 
rassed by the interview that I really felt sorry for him 
before he dismissed me with my discharge papers, properly 
made out and signed. 

I had received a letter from my father telling me to 
come to him as soon as I had gotten my discharge from 
my company, so I proceeded at once to his headquarters, 
which were situated near Orange Court House, on a 
wooded hill just east of the village. I found there the 
horse which he gave me. She was a daughter of his 
mare, "Grace Darling," and, though not so handsome 
as her mother, she inherited many of her good qualities, 
and carried me well until the end of the war and for 
thirteen years afterward. She was four years old, a 
solid bay, and never failed me a single day during three 
years' hard work. The General was on the point of 
moving his headquarters down to Fredericksburg, some 
of the army having already gone forward to that city. I 
think the camp was struck the day after I arrived, and 
as the General's hands were not yet entirely well, he 
allowed me, as a great favour, to ride his horse "Trav- 
eller. ' ' Amongst the soldiers this horse was as well known 
as was his master. He was a handsome iron-gray with 
black points — mane and tail very dark — sixteen hands 
high, and five years old. He was born near the White 
Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, and attracted the notice 
of my father when he was in that part of the State in 1861 . 
He was never known to tire, and, though quiet and sen- 
sible in general and afraid of nothing, yet if not regularly 
exercised, he fretted a good deal, especially in a crowd of 


horses. But there can be no better description of this 
famous horse than the one given by his master. It was 
dictated to his daughter Agnes at Lexington, Virginia, 
after the war, in response to some artist who had asked 
for a description, and was corrected in his own hand- 
writing : 

" If I were an artist like you I would draw a true picture 
of Traveller — representing his fine proportions, muscular 
figure, deep chest and short back, strong haunches, flat 
legs, small head, broad forehead, delicate ears, quick eye, 
small feet, and black mane and tail. Such a picture 
would inspire a poet, whose genius could then depict his 
worth and describe his endurance of toil, hunger, thirst, 
heat, cold, and the dangers and sufferings through which 
he passed. He could dilate upon his sagacity and affec- 
tion, and his invariable response to every wish of his rider. 
He might even imagine his thoughts, through the long 
night marches and days of battle through which he 
has passed. But I am no artist ; I can only say he is a 
Confederate gray. I purchased him in the mountains 
of Virginia in the autumn of 1861, and he has been my 
patient follower ever since — to Georgia, the Carolinas, 
and back to Virginia. He carried me through the Seven 
Days battle around Richmond, the second Manassas, at 
Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, the last day at Chancel- 
lorsville, to Pennsylvania, at Gettysburg, and back to 
the Rappahannock. From the commencement of the 
campaign in 1864 at Orange, till its close around Peters- 
burg, the saddle was scarcely off his back, as he passed 
through the fire of the Wildernesss, Spottsylvania, Cold 
Harbour, and across the James River. He was almost 
in daily requisition in the winter of 1864-65 on the long 
line of defenses from Chickahominy, north of Richmond, 
to Hatcher's Run, south of the Appomattox. In the 
campaign of 1865, he bore me from Petersburg to the 
final days at Appomattox Court House. You must know 
the comfort he is to me in my present retirement. He is 


well supplied with equipments. Two sets have been 
sent to him from England, one from the ladies of Balti- 
more, and one was made for him in Richmond; but I 
think his favourite is the American saddle from St. Louis. 
Of all his companions in toil, ' Richmond, ' ' Brown Roan, ' 
'Ajax,' and quiet 'Lucy Long,' he is the only one that 
retained his vigour. The first two expired under their 
onerous burden, and the last two failed. You can, I am 
sure, from what I have said, paint his portrait." 

The general had the strongest affection for Traveller, 
which he showed on all occasions, and his allowing me to 
ride him on this long march was a great compliment. 
Possibly he wanted to give me a good hammering before 
he turned me over to the cavalry. During my soldier 
life, so far, I had been on foot, having backed nothing 
more lively than a tired artillery horse; so I mounted 
with some misgivings, though I was very proud of my 
steed. My misgivings were fully realised, for Traveller 
would not walk a step. He took a short, high trot — a 
buck-trot, as compared with a buck- jump — and kept it 
up to Fredericksburg, some thirty miles. Though young, 
strong, and tough, I was glad when the journey ended. 
This was my first introduction to the cavalry service. I 
think I am safe in saying that I could have walked the 
distance with much less discomfort and fatigue. My 
father having thus given me a horse and presented me 
with one of his swords, also supplied my purse so that I 
could get myself an outfit suitable to my new position, 
and he sent me on to join my command, stationed 
not far away on the Rappahannock, southward from 

As an officer in the cavalry on the staff, I had more 
frequent opportunities of seeing my father than as a 


private in the artillery. In the course of duty, I was 
sometimes sent to him to report the condition of affairs 
at the front, or on the flank of the army, and I also, 
occasionally, paid him a visit. At these times, he would 
take me into his tent, talk to me about my mother and 
sisters, about my horse and myself, or the people and the 
country where my command happened to be stationed. 
I think my presence was very grateful to him, and he 
seemed to brighten up when I came. I remember, he 
always took it as a matter of course that I must be hungry 
(and I was for three years), so he invariably made his 
mess-steward, Bryan, give me something to eat, if I did 
not have time to wait for the regular meal. His head- 
quarters at this time, just before the battle of Freder- 
icksburg and after, were at a point on the road between 
Fredericksburg and Hamilton's Crossing, selected on 
account of its accessibility. Notwithstanding there was 
near-by a good house vacant, he lived in his tents. His 
'quarters were very unpretentious, consisting of three 
or four "wall-tents" and several more common ones. 
They were pitched on the edge of an old pine field, near 
a grove of forest trees from which he drew his supply of 
fire-wood, while the pines helped to shelter his tents 
and horses from the cold winds. Though from the out- 
side they were rather dismal, especially through the dreary 
winter time, within they were cheerful, and the sur- 
roundings as neat and comfortable as possible under the 

On November 24, 1862, in a letter to his daughter 
Mary, he writes: 

". . . General Burnside's whole army is apparently 
opposite Fredericksburg, and stretches from the Rap- 
pahannock to the Potomac. What his intentions are he 


has not yet disclosed. I am sorry he is in position to 
oppress our friends and citizens of the Northern Neck. 
He threatens to bombard Fredericksburg, and the noble 
spirit displayed by its citizens, particularly the women 
and children, has elicited my highest admiration. They 
have been abandoning their homes, night and day, during 
all this inclement weather, cheerfully and uncomplain- 
ingly, with only such assistance as our wagons and ambu- 
lances could afford, women, girls, children, trudging 
through the mud and bivouacking in the open fields." 

How the battle of Fredericksburg was fought and won 
all the world has heard, and I shall not attempt to describe 
it. On December nth, the day Burnside commenced 
his attack, General Lee wrote to my mother: 

". . . The enemy, after bombarding the town of 
Fredericksburg, setting fire to many houses and knocking 
down nearly all those along the river, crossed over a large 
force about dark, and now occupies the town. We hold 
the hills commanding it, and hope we shall be able to 
damage him yet. His position and heavy guns command 
the town entirely." 

On December 16th, in another letter to my mother, he 
tells of the recrossing of the Federals : 

" I had supposed they were just preparing for battle, 
and was saving our men for the conflict. Their hosts 
crown the hill and plain beyond the river, and their num- 
bers to me are unknown. Still I felt the confidence we 
could stand the shock, and was anxious for the blow that 
is to fall on some point, and was prepared to meet it here. 
Yesterday evening I had my suspicions that they might 
return during the night, but could not believe they would 
relinquish their hopes after all their boasting and prepara- 
tion, and when I say that the latter is equal to the former 
you will have some idea of the magnitude. This morn- 


ing they were all safe on the north side of the Rappahan- 
nock. They went as they came — in the night. They 
suffered heavily as far as the battle went, but it did not go 
far enough to satisfy me. Our loss was comparatively 
slight, and I think will not exceed two thousand. The 
contest will have now to be renewed, but on what field I 
cannot say." 

I did not see my father at any time during the fighting. 
Some days after it was all over, I saw him, as calm and 
composed as if nothing unusual had happened, and he 
never referred to his great victory, except to deplore the 
loss of his brave officers and soldiers or the sufferings 
of the sick and wounded. He repeatedly referred to the 
hardships so bravely endured by the inhabitants of 
Fredericksburg, who had been obliged to flee from the 
town, the women and children, the old and the feeble, 
whose sufferings cut him to the heart. On Christmas 
Day he writes to his youngest daughter, Mildred, who 
was at school in North Carolina : 

". . . I cannot tell you how I long to see you when 
a little quiet occurs. My thoughts revert to you, your 
sisters, and your mother ; my heart aches for our reunion. 
Your brothers I see occasionally. This morning Fitzhugh 
rode by with his young aide-de-camp (Rob) at the head of 
his brigade, on his way up the Rappahannock. You 
must study hard, gain knowledge, and learn your duty to 
God and your neighbour : that is the great object of life. 
I have no news, confined constantly to camp, and my 
thoughts occupied with its necessities and duties. I am, 
however, happy in the knowledge that General Burnside 
and army will not eat their promised Christmas dinner in 
Richmond to-day." 

On the next day he writes as follows to his daughter 
Agnes, who was with her mother in Richmond : 


"Camp Fredericksburg, December 26, 1862. 
" My Precious Little Agnes: I have not heard of you for 
a long time. I wish you were with me, for, always soli- 
tary, I am sometimes weary, and long for the reunion of 
my family once again. But I will not speak of myself, but 
of you. ... I have seen the ladies in this vicinity 
only when flying from the enemy, and it caused me 
acute grief to witness their exposure and suffering. But 
a more noble spirit was never displayed anywhere. The 
faces of old and young were wreathed with smiles, and 
glowed with happiness at their sacrifices for the good of 
their country. Many have lost everything. What the 
fire and shells of the enemy spared, their pillagers de- 
stroyed. But God will shelter them, I know. So much 
heroism will not be unregarded. I can only hold oral 
communication with your sister*, and have forbidden the 
scouts to bring any writing, and have taken back some 
that I had given them for her. If caught, it would com- 
promise them. They only convey messages. I learn in 
that way she is well. 

" Your devoted father, 

"R. E. Lee." 

I give another letter he wrote on Christmas Day, 
besides the one quoted above, to his daughter, Mildred. 
It was written to his wife, and is interesting as giving 
an insight into his private feelings and views regarding 
this great victory : 

". . . I will commence this holy day by writing to 
you. My heart is filled with gratitude to Almighty God 
for His unspeakable mercies with which He has blessed us 
in this day, for those He has granted us from the begin- 
ning of life, and particularly for those He has vouchsafed 
us during the past year. What should have become of 
us without His crowning help and protection ? Oh, if our 

* His daughter Mary, in King George County, within the lines of 
the enemy. 



Id oral 


Photographed in 1862 or '63 ome 


as gi 

lay by writing to 

He has blessed us 

:. become of 



people would only recognise it and cease from vain self- 
boasting and adulation, how strong would be my belief in 
final success and happiness to our country ! But what a 
cruel thing is war ; to separate and destroy families and 
friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has 
granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred 
instead of love for our neighbours, and to devastate the 
fair face of this beautiful world ! I pray that, on this day 
when only peace and good-will are preached to mankind, 
better thoughts may fill the hearts of our enemies and turn 
them to peace. Our army was never in such good health 
and condition since I have been attached to it. I believe 
they share with me my disappointment that the enemy 
did not renew the combat on the 13th. I was holding 
back all day and husbanding our strength and ammunition 
for the great struggle, for which I thought I was preparing. 
Had I divined that was to have been his only effort, he 
would have had more of it. My heart bleeds at the death 
of every one of our gallant men." 

One marked characteristic of my father was his habit 
of attending to all business matters promptly. He was 
never idle, and what he had to do he performed with care 
and precision. Mr. Custis, my grandfather, had made 
him executor of his will, wherein it was directed that all 
the slaves belonging to the estate should be set free after 
the expiration of so many years. The time had now 
arrived, and, notwithstanding the exacting duties of his 
position, the care of his suffering soldiers, and his anxiety 
about their future, immediate and distant, he proceeded 
according to the law of the land to carry out the pro- 
visions of the will, and had delivered to every one of the 
servants, where it was possible, their manumission papers. 
From his letters written at this time I give a few extracts 
bearing on this subject : 


". . . As regards the liberation of the people, I wish 
to progress in it as far as I can. Those hired in Rich- 
mond can still find employment there if they choose. 
Those in the country can do the same or remain on the 
farms. I hope they will all do well and behave them- 
selves. I should like, if I could, to attend to their wants 
and see them placed to the best advantage. But that is 
impossible. All that choose can leave the State before 
the war closes. . . . 

". . . I executed the deed of manumission sent me 
by Mr. Caskie, and returned it to him. I perceived that 
John Sawyer and James's names, among the Arlington 
people, had been omitted, and inserted them. I fear 
there are others among the White House lot which I did 
not discover. As to the attacks of the Northern papers, 
I do not mind them, and do not think it wise to make the 
publication you suggest. If all the names of the people 
at Arlington and on the Pamunkey are not embraced in 
this deed I have executed, I should like a supplementary 
deed to be drawn up, containing all those omitted. They 
are entitled to their freedom and I wish to give it to them. 
Those that have been carried away, I hope are free and 
happy ; I cannot get their papers to them, and they do not 
require them. I will give them if they ever call for them. 
It will be useless to ask their restitution to manumit 
them. . . ." 


The Army of Northern Virginia 

the general's sympathy for his suffering soldiers 

chancellorsville death of " stonewall " 

jackson— general fitzhugh lee wounded and 

captured escape of his brother robert 

gettysburg religious revival infantry re- 
view unsatisfactory commissariat 

During this winter, which was a very severe one, the 
sufferings of General Lee's soldiers on account of insuf- 
ficient shelter and clothing, the scant rations for man and 
beast, the increasing destitution throughout the country, 
and his inability to better these conditions, bore heavily 
upon him. But he was bright and cheerful to those 
around him, never complaining of any one nor about 
anything, and often indulging in his quaint humour, 
especially with the younger officers, as when he remarked 
to one of them, who complained of the tough biscuit at 
breakfast : 

"You ought not to mind that; they will stick by you 
the longer !" 

His headquarters continued all the winter at the same 
place, and with stove and fire-places in the tents, the 
General and his military family managed to keep fairly 
comfortable. On February 6, 1863, he wrote to his daugh- 
ter, Agnes, from this camp : 



"Camp Fredericksburg, February 6, 1863. 
". . . I read yesterday, my precious daughter, your 
letter, and grieved very much when last in Richmond at 
not seeing you. My movements are so uncertain that I 
cannot be relied on for anything. The only place I am 
to be found is in camp, and I am so cross now that I am 
not worth seeing anywhere. Here you will have to take 
me with the three stools — the snow, the rain, and the 
mud. The storm of the last twenty -four hours has added 
to our stock of all, and we are now in a floating condition. 
But the sun and the wind will carry all off in time, and 
then we shall appreciate our relief. Our horses and mules 
suffer the most. They have to bear the cold and rain, 
tug through the mud, and suffer all the time with hunger. 
The roads are wretched, almost impassable. I heard of 
Mag lately. One of our scouts brought me a card of 
Margaret Stuart's with a pair of gauntlets directed to 
' Cousin Robert.' ... I have no news. General 
Hooker is obliged to do something. I do not know what 
it will be. He is playing the Chinese game, trying what 
frightening will do. He runs out his guns, starts his 
wagons and troops up and down the river, and creates an 
excitement generally. Our men look on in wonder, give 
a cheer, and all again subsides in statu quo ante helium. I 
wish you were here with me to-day. You would have to 
sit by this little stove, look out at the rain, and keep your- 
self dry. But here come, in all the wet, the adjutants- 
general with the papers. I must stop and go to work. 
See how kind God is; we have plenty to do in good 
weather and bad. . . ." 

"Your devoted father, 

"R. E. Lee." 

On February 23d, he writes to Mrs. Lee: 

"Camp Fredericksburg, February 23, 1863. 
"The weather is now very hard upon our poor bush- 
men. This morning the whole country is covered with a 


mantle of snow fully a foot deep. It was nearly up to 
my knees as I stepped out this morning, and our poor 
horses were enveloped. We have dug them out and 
opened our avenues a little, but it will be terrible and the 
roads impassable. No cars from Richmond yesterday. 
I fear our short rations for man and horse will have to be 
curtailed. Our enemies have their troubles too. They 
are very strong immediately in front, but have with- 
drawn their troops above and below us back toward 
Acquia Creek. I owe Mr. F. J. Hooker* no thanks for 
keeping me here. He ought to have made up his mind 

long ago what to do 24th. The cars have arrived and 

brought me a young French officer, full of vivacity, and 
ardent for service with me. I think the appearance of 
things will cool him. If they do not, the night will, for 
he brought no blankets. 

"R. E. Lee." 

The dreary winter gradually passed away. Toward 
the last of April, the two armies, which had been opposite 
each other for four months, began to move, and, about 
the first of May, the greatest of General Lee's battles 
was fought. My command was on the extreme left, and, 
as Hooker crossed the river, we followed a raiding party 
of the enemy's cavalry over toward the James River 
above Richmond ; so I did not see my father at any time 
during the several days' fighting. The joy of .our victory 
at Chancellorsville was saddened by the death of " Stone- 
wall" Jackson. His loss was the heaviest blow the 
Army of Northern Virginia ever sustained. To Jackson's 
note telling him he was wounded, my father replied : 

" I cannot express my regret at the occurrence. Could 
I have directed events, I should have chosen for the good 
of the country to have been disabled in your stead. I 

*" Fighting Joe" was Hooker's popular sobriquet in the Federal 


congratulate you on the victory, which is due to your 
skill and energy." 

Jackson said, when this was read to him, 

"Better that ten Jacksons should fall than one Lee." 

Afterward, when it was reported that Jackson was 

doing well, General Lee playfully sent him word : 

" You are better off than I am, for while you have only 

lost your left, I have lost my right arm," 
Then, hearing that he was worse, he said: 
" Tell him that I am praying for him as I believe I have 

never prayed for myself." 

After his death, General Lee writes to my mother, on 

May nth: 

" . . . In addition to the deaths of officers and friends 
consequent upon the late battles, you will see that we 
have to mourn the loss of the great and good Jackson. 
Any victory would be dear at such a price. His remains 
go to Richmond to-day. I know not how to replace 
him. God's will be done ! I trust He will raise up some 
one in his place. . . ." 

Jones, in his Memoirs, says: "To one of his officers, 
after Jackson's death, he [General Lee] said: 'I had 
such implicit confidence in Jackson's skill and energy 
that I never troubled myself to give him detailed 
instructions. The most general suggestions were all 
that he needed.'" 

To one of his aides, who came to his tent, April 29th, 
to inform him that the enemy had crossed the Rappa- 
hannock River in heavy force, General Lee made the 
playful reply: 

" Well, I heard firing, and I was beginning to think it was 
time some of you lazy young fellows were coming to tell 


me what it was all about. Say to General Jackson that 
he knows just as well what to do with the enemy as I do." 

Jackson said of Lee, when it was intimated by some, at 
the time he first took command, that he was slow : 

"He is cautious. He ought to be. But he is not 
slow. Lee is a phenomenon. He is the only man whom 
I would follow blindfold." 

As the story of these great men year by year is made 
plainer to the world, their love, trust, and respect for 
each other will be better understood. As commander 
and lieutenant they were exactly suited. When General 
Lee wanted a movement made and gave Jackson an 
outline of his plans and the object to be gained, it was 
performed promptly, well, and thoroughly, if it was pos- 
sible for flesh and blood to do it. - 

At the end of May, the Army of Northern Virginia, 
rested and strengthened, was ready for active operations. 
On May 31st General Lee writes to Mrs. Lee: 

" . . . General Hooker has been very daring this 
past week, and quite active. He has not said what he 
intends to do, but is giving out by his movements that 
he designs crossing the Rappahannock. I hope we may 
be able to frustrate his plans, in part, if not in whole. 
. . . I pray that our merciful Father in Heaven may 
protect and direct us ! In that case, I fear no odds and 
no numbers." 

About June 5th most of the army was gathered around 
Culpeper. Its efficiency, confidence, and morale were 
never better. On June 7 th the entire cavalry corps was 
reviewed on the plain near Brandy Station in Culpeper 
by General Lee. We had been preparing ourselves for 
this event for some days, cleaning, mending and polishing, 
and I remember we were very proud of our appearance. 


In fact, it was a grand sight — about eight thousand well- 
mounted men riding by their beloved commander, first 
passing him in a walk and then in a trot. He writes to 
my mother next day — June 8, 1863: 

" . . . I reviewed the cavalry in this section yes- 
terday. It was a splendid sight. The men and horses 
looked well. They have recuperated since last fall. 
Stuart* was in all his glory. Your sons and nephewst 
were well and nourishing. The country here looks very 
green and pretty, notwithstanding the ravages of war. 
What a beautiful world God, in His loving kindness to 
His creatures, has given us ! What a shame that men 
endowed with reason and knowledge of right should 
mar His gifts. . . ." 

The next day, June 9th, a large force of the enemy's 
cavalry, supported by infantry, crossed the Rappahan- 
nock and attacked General Stuart. The conflict lasted 
until dark, when 

"The enemy was compelled to recross the river, with 
heavy loss, leaving about five hundred prisoners, three 
pieces of artillery, and several colours in our hands." 

During the engagement, about 3 p. m., my brother, 
General W. H. F. Lee, my commanding officer, was 
severely wounded. In a letter dated the nth of the 
month, my father writes to my mother : 

". . . My supplications continue to ascend for 
you, my children, and my country. When I last wrote 
I did not suppose that Fitzhugh would be so soon sent to 
the rear disabled, and I hope it will be for a short time. 
I saw him the night after the battle — indeed, met him 

*J. E. B. Stuart, commanding cavalry corps. 
fTwo sons and three nephews. 


on the field as they were bringing him from the front. 
He is young and healthy, and I trust will soon be up 
again. He seemed to be more concerned about his brave 
men and officers, who had fallen in the battle, than 
about himself. . . ." 

It was decided, the next day, to send my brother to 
"Hickory Hill," the home of Mr. W. F. Wickham, in 
Hanover County, about twenty miles from Richmond, 
and I was put in charge of him to take him there and 
to be with him until his wound should heal. Thus it 
happened that I did not meet my father again until after 
Gettysburg had been fought, and the army had recrossed 
into Virginia, almost to the same place I had left it. My 
father wrote my brother a note the morning after he was 
wounded, before he left Culpeper. It shows his con- 
sideration and tenderness: 

" My Dear Son: I send you a despatch, received from 
C. last night. I hope you are comfortable this morning. 
I wish I could see you, but I cannot. Take care of your- 
self, and make haste and get well and return. Though I 
scarcely ever saw you, it was a great comfort to know 
that you were near and with me. I could think of you 
and hope to see you. May we yet meet in peace and 
happiness. . . ." 

In a letter to my brother's wife, written on the nth, 
his love and concern for both of them are plainly shown : 

" I am so grieved, my dear daughter, to send Fitzhugh 
to you wounded. But I am so grateful that his wound 
is of a character to give us full hope of a speedy recovery. 
With his youth and strength to aid him, and your tender 
care to nurse him, I trust he will soon be well again. I 
know that you will unite with me in thanks to Almighty 
God, who has so often sheltered him in the hour of danger, 


for his recent deliverance, and lift up your whole heart 
in praise to Him for sparing a life so dear to us, while 
enabling him to do his duty in the station in which He 
had placed him. Ask him to join us in supplication that 
He may always cover him with the shadow of His almighty 
arm, and teach him that his only refuge is in Him, the 
greatness of whose mercy reacheth unto the heavens, 
and His truth unto the clouds. As some good is always 
mixed with the evil in this world, you will now have him 
with you for a time, and I shall look to you to cure him 
soon and send him back to me. . . ." 

My brother reached " Hickory Hill" quite comfortably, 
and his wound commenced to heal finely. His wife 
joined him, my mother and sisters came up from Rich- 
mond, and he had all the tender care he could wish. He 
occupied "the office" in the yard, while I slept in the 
room adjoining and became quite an expert nurse. 
About two weeks after our arrival, one lovely morning 
as we all came out from the breakfast table, stepping 
into the front porch with Mrs. Wickham, we were much 
surprised to hear two or three shots down in the direction 
of the outer gate, where there was a large grove of hickory 
trees. Mrs. Wickham said some one must be after her 
squirrels, as there were many in those woods, and she 
asked me to run down and stop whoever was shooting 
them. I got my hat, and at once started off to do her 
bidding. I had not gone over a hundred yards toward 
the grove, when I saw, coming up at a gallop to the gate 
I was making for, five or six Federal cavalrymen. I 
knew what it meant at once, so I rushed back to the 
office and told my brother. He immediately understood 
the situation and directed me to get away — said I could 
do no good by staying, that the soldiers could not and 
would not hurt him, and there was nothing to be gained 


by my falling into their hands; but that, on the con- 
trary, I might do a great deal of good by eluding 
them, making my way to " North Wales," a plantation 
across the Pamunkey River, and saving our horses. 

So I ran out, got over the fence and behind a thick 
hedge, just as I heard the tramp and clank of quite a 
body of troopers riding up. Behind this hedge I crept 
along until I reached a body of woods, where I was per- 
fectly safe. From a hill near by I ascertained that there 
was a large raiding party of Federal cavalry in the main 
road, and the heavy smoke ascending from the Court 
House, about three miles away, told me that they were 
burning the railroad buildings at that place. After 
waiting until I thought the coast was clear, I worked my 
way very cautiously back to the vicinity of the house 
to find out what was going on. Fortunately, I took 
advantage of the luxuriant shrubbery in the old garden 
at the rear of the house, and when I looked out from the 
last box bush that screened me, about twenty yards from 
the back porch, I perceived that I was too soon, for there 
were standing, sitting and walking about quite a number 
of the bluecoats. I jumped back behind the group of 
box trees, and, flinging myself flat under a thick fir, 
crawled close up to the trunk under the low-hanging 
branches, and lay there for some hours. 

I saw my brother brought out from the office on a 
mattress, and placed in the "Hickory Hill" carriage, to 
which was hitched Mr. Wickham's horses, and then saw 
him driven away, a soldier on the box and a mounted 
guard surrounding him. He was carried to the "White 
House" in this way, and then sent by water to Fortress 
Monroe. This party had been sent out especially to 
capture him, and he was held as a hostage (for the 


safety of some Federal officers we had captured) for nine 
long, weary months. 

The next day I found out that all the horses but one 
had been saved by the faithfulness of our servants. The 
one lost, my brother's favourite and best horse, was 
ridden straight into the column by Scott, a negro servant, 
who had him out for exercise. Before he knew our 
enemies, he and the horse were prisoners. Scott watched 
his opportunity, and, not being guarded, soon got away. 
By crawling through a culvert, under the road, while the 
cavalry was passing along, he made his way into a deep 
ditch in the adjoining field, thence succeeded in reaching 
the farm where the rest of the horses were, and hurried 
them off to a safe place in the woods, just as the Federal 
cavalry rode up to get them. 

In a letter dated Culpeper, July 26th, to my brother's 
wife, my father thus urges resignation : 

" I received, last night, my darling daughter, your let- 
ter of the 1 8th from 'Hickory Hill.' . . . You must 
not be sick while Fitzhugh is away, or he will be more 
restless under his separation. Get strong and hearty by 
his return, that he may the more rejoice at the sight of 
you. ... I can appreciate your distress at Fitzhugh's 
situation. I deeply sympathise with it, and in the lone 
hours of the night I groan in sorrow at his captivity and 
separation from you. But we must bear it, exercise all 
our patience, and do nothing to aggravate the evil. This, 
besides injuring ourselves, would rejoice our enemies and 
be sinful in the eyes of God. In His own good time He 
will relieve us and make all things work together for our 
good, if we give Him our love and place in Him our trust. 
I can see no harm that can result from Fitzhugh's capture, 
except his detention. I feel assured that he will be well 
attended to. He will be in the hands of old army officers 


and surgeons, most of whom are men of principle and 
humanity. His wound, I understand, has not been 
injured by his removal, but is doing well. Nothing would 
do him more harm than for him to learn that you were 
sick and sad. How could he get well ? So cheer up and 
prove your fortitude and patriotism. . . . You may 
think of Fitzhugh and love him as much as you please, 
but do not grieve over him or grow sad." 

From Williamsport, to my mother, he thus writes of his 
son's capture: 

" I have heard with great grief that Fitzhugh has been 
captured by the enemy. Had not expected that he would 
be taken from his bed and carried off, but we must bear 
this additional affliction with fortitude and resignation, 
and not repine at the will of God. It will eventuate in 
some good that we know not of now. We must bear our 
labours and hardships manfully. Our noble men are 
cheerful and confident. I constantly remember you in 
my thoughts and prayers." 

On July 12th, from near Hagerstown, he writes again 
about him: 

"The consequences of war are horrid enough at best, 
surrounded by all the ameliorations of civilisation and 
Christianity. I am very sorry for the injuries done the 
family at Hickory Hill, and particularly that our dear 
old Uncle Williams, in his eightieth year, should be sub- 
jected to such treatment. But we cannot help it, and 
must endure it. You will, however, learn before this 
reaches you that our success at Gettysburg was not so 
great as reported — in fact, that we failed to drive the 
enemy from his position, and that our army withdrew to 
the Potomac. Had the river not unexpectedly risen, all 
would have been well with us; but God, in His all-wise 
providence, willed otherwise, and our communications 


have been interrupted and almost cut off. The waters 
have subsided to about four feet, and, if they continue, 
by to-morrow, I hope, our communications will be open. 
I trust that a merciful God, our only hope and refuge, will 
not desert us in this hour of need, and will deliver us by 
His almighty hand, that the whole world may recognise 
His power and all hearts be lifted up in adoration and 
praise of His unbounded loving-kindness. We must, 
however, submit to His almighty will, whatever that may 
be. May God guide and protect us all is my constant 
prayer. ' ' 

In 1868, in a letter to Major Wm. M. McDonald, of 
Berryville, Clarke County, Virginia, who was intending 
to write a school history, and had written to my father, 
asking for information about some of his great battles, the 
following statement appears : 

"As to the battle of Gettysburg, I must again refer you 
to the official accounts. Its loss was occasioned by a 
combination of circumstances. It was commenced in the 
absence of correct intelligence. It was continued in the 
effort to overcome the difficulties by which we were sur- 
rounded, and it would have been gained could one deter- 
mined and united blow have been delivered by our whole 
line. As it was, victory trembled in the balance for three 
days, and the battle resulted in the infliction of as great 
an amount of injury as was received and in frustrating the 
Federal campaign for the season." 

After my brother's capture I went to Richmond, taking 
with me his horses and servants. After remaining there 
a short time, I mounted my mare and started back to the 
army, which I found at its old camping-ground in Cul- 
peper. I stopped at first for a few days with my father. 
He was very glad to see me, and I could tell him all about 
my mother and sisters, and many other friends whom I 


had just left in Richmond, He appeared to be unchanged 
in manner and appearance. The disappointment in the 
Gettysburg campaign, to which he alludes in his letter to 
my mother, was not shown in anything he said or did. 
He was calm and dignified with all, at times bright and 
cheerful, and always had a playful smile and a pleasant 
word for those about him. The army lay inactive, along 
the line of the Rappahannock and the Rapidan for two 
months, watching the enemy, who was in our front. We 
were very anxious to attack or to be attacked, but each 
general desired to fight on ground of his own choosing. 

During this period, and indeed at all times, my father 
was fully employed. Besides the care of his own imme- 
diate command, he advised with the President and Secre- 
tary of War as to the movements and dispositions of the 
other armies in the Confederacy. In looking over his cor- 
respondence one is astonished at the amount of it and at 
its varied character. He always answered all letters 
addressed to him, from whatever source, if it was possible. 
During this winter he devoted himself especially to looking 
after the welfare of his troops, their clothing, shoes, and 
rations, all three of which were becoming very scarce. 
Often, indeed, his army had only a few days' rations in 
sight. Here are some letters written to the authorities, 
showing how he was hampered in his movements by the 
deficiencies existing in the quartermaster's and com- 
missary departments. To the Quartermaster-General, 
at Richmond, he writes, October, 1863, after his move- 
ment around- General Meade's right, to Manassas: 

". . . The want of the supplies of shoes, clothing and 
blankets is very great. Nothing but my unwillingness to 
expose the men to the hardships that would have resulted 


from moving them into Loudoun in their present con- 
dition induced me to return to the Rappahannock. But 
I was averse to marching them over the rough roads of 
that region, at a season, too, when frosts are certain and 
snows probable, unless they were better provided to 
encounter them without suffering. I should, otherwise, 
have endeavoured to detain General Meade near the 
Potomac, if I could not throw him to the north side." 

In a letter of the same time to the Honourable James A. 
Seddon, Secretary of War : 

". . . If General Meade is disposed to remain quiet 
where he is, it was my intention, provided the army could 
be supplied with clothing, again to advance and threaten 
his position. Nothing prevented my continuing in his 
front but the destitute condition of the men, thousands 
of whom are barefooted, a greater number partially shod, 
and nearly all without overcoats, blankets, or warm 
clothing. I think the sublimest sight of war was the 
cheerfulness and alacrity exhibited by this army in the 
pursuit of the enemy under all the trials and privations 
to which it was exposed. . . ." 

Later on, in January, when the severe weather com- 
menced, he again writes to the Quartermaster-General 
on the same subject: 

" General: The want of shoes and blankets in this army 
continues to cause much suffering and to impair its effi- 
ciency. In one regiment I am informed that there are 
only fifty men with serviceable shoes, and a brigade that 
recently went on picket was compelled to leave several 
hundred men in camp, who were unable to bear the ex- 
posure of duty, being destitute of shoes and blankets. 
. . . The supply, by running the blockade, has become 
so precarious that I think we should turn our attention 
chiefly to our own resources, and I should like to be 


informed how far the latter can be counted upon. . . . 
I trust that no efforts will be spared to develop our own 
resources of supply, as a further dependence upon those 
from abroad can result in nothing but increase of suffering 
and want. I am, with great respect, 

" Your obedient servant, 

"R. E. Lee, General." 

There was at this time a great revival of religion in the 
army. My father became much interested in it, and did 
what he could to promote in his camps all sacred exer- 
cises. Reverend J. W. Jones, in his "Personal Reminis- 
cences of General R. E. Lee," says: 

''General Lee's orders and reports always gratefully 
recognised ' The Lord of Hosts ' as the \ Giver of Victory, ' 
and expressed an humble dependence upon and trust in 

All his correspondence shows the same devout feeling. 
On August 13, 1863, he issued the following order: 

"Headquarters, Army Northern Virginia, 

"August 13, 1863. 
"The President of the Confederate States has, in the 
name of the people, appointed August 21st as a day of 
fasting, humiliation, and prayer. A strict observance 
of the day is enjoined upon the officers and soldiers of this 
army. All military duties, except such as are absolutely 
necessary, will be suspended. The commanding officers 
of brigades and regiments are requested to cause divine 
services, suitable to the occasion, to be performed in their 
respective commands. Soldiers ! we have sinned against 
Almighty God. We have forgotten His signal mercies, 
and have cultivated a revengeful, haughty, and boastful 
spirit. We have not remembered that the defenders of a 
just cause should be pure in His eyes ; that ' our times are 


in His hands,' and we have relied too much on our own 
arms for the achievement of our independence. God is 
our only refuge and our strength. Let us humble 
ourselves before Him. Let us confess our many sins, and 
beseech Him to give us a higher courage, a purer patriot- 
ism, and more determined will ; that He will convert the 
hearts of our enemies ; that He will hasten the time when 
war, with its sorrows and sufferings, shall cease, and that 
He will give us a name and place among the nations of the 

"R. E. Lee, General." 

His was a practical, e very-day religion, which supported 
him all through his life, enabled him to bear with equa- 
nimity every reverse of fortune, and to accept her gifts 
without undue elation. During this period of rest, so 
unusual to the Army of Northern Virginia, several reviews 
were held before the commanding general. I remember 
being present when that of the Third Army Corps, General 
A. P. Hill commanding, took place. Some of us young 
cavalrymen, then stationed near the Rappahannock, rode 
over to Orange Court House to see this grand military 
pageant. From all parts of the army, officers and men 
who could get leave came to look on, and from all the sur- 
rounding country the people, old and young, ladies and 
children, came in every pattern of vehicle and on horse- 
back, to see twenty thousand of that "incomparable 
infantry " of the Army of Northern Virginia pass in review 
before their great commander. 

The General was mounted on Traveller, looking very 
proud of his master, who had on sash and sword, which 
he very rarely wore, a pair of new cavalry gauntlets, and, 
I think, a new hat. At any rate, he looked unusually fine, 
and sat his horse like a perfect picture of grace and power. 
The infantry was drawn up in column by divisions, with 


their bright muskets all glittering in the sun, their battle- 
flags standing straight out before the breeze, and their 
bands playing, awaiting the inspection of the General, 
before they broke into column by companies and marched 
past him in review. When all was ready, General Hill 
and staff rode up to General Lee, and the two generals, 
with their respective staffs, galloped around front and 
rear of each of the three divisions standing motionless on 
the plain. As the cavalcade reached the head of each 
division, its commanding officer joined in and followed 
as far as the next division, so that there was a continual 
infusion of fresh groups into the original one all along 
the lines. Traveller started with a long lope, and never 
changed his stride. His rider sat erect and calm, not 
noticing anything but the gray lines of men whom he 
knew so well. The pace was very fast, as there were 
nine good miles to go, and the escort began to become 
less and less, dropping out one by one from different 
.causes as Traveller raced along without a check. When 
the General drew up, after this nine -mile gallop, under 
the standard at the re vie wing-stand, flushed with the 
exercise as well as with pride in his brave men, he raised 
his hat and saluted. Then arose a shout of applause 
and admiration from the entire assemblage, the memory 
of which to this day moistens the eye of every old 
soldier. The corps was then passed in review at a 
quick-step, company front. It was a most imposing 
sight. After it was all over, my father rode up to several 
carriages whose occupants he knew and gladdened them 
by a smile, a word, or a shake of the hand. He found 
several of us young officers with some pretty cousins of 
his from Richmond, and he was very bright and cheerful, 
joking us young people about each other. His letters to 


my mother and sister this summer and fall help to give 
an insight into his thoughts and feelings. On July 15th, 
from Bunker Hill, in a letter to his wife, he says : 

". . . The army has returned to Virginia. Its 
return is rather sooner than I had originally contemplated, 
but, having accomplished much of what I proposed on 
leaving the Rappahannock — namely, relieving the valley 
of the presence of the enemy and drawing his army 
north of the Potomac — I determined to recross the latter 
river. The enemy, after centering his forces in our 
front, began to fortify himself in his position and bring 
up his troops, militia, etc. — and those around Wash- 
ington and Alexandria. This gave him enormous odds. 
It also circumscribed our limits for procuring subsistence 
for men and animals, which, with the uncertain state of 
the river, rendered it hazardous for us to continue on the 
north side. It has been raining a great deal since we 
first crossed the Potomac, making the roads horrid and 
embarrassing our operations. The night we recrossed 
it rained terribly, yet we got all over safe, save such 
vehicles as broke down on the road from the mud, rocks, 
etc. We are all well. I hope we will yet be able to 
damage our adversaries when they meet us. That it 
should be so, we must implore the forgiveness of God 
for our sins, and the continuance of His blessings. There 
is nothing but His almighty power that can sustain us. 
God bless you all. . . ." 

Later, July 26th, he writes from Camp Culpeper: 

".. . . After crossing the Potomac, finding that the 
Shenandoah was six feet above the fording-stage, and, 
having waited for a week for it to fall, so that I might 
cross into Loudoun, fearing that the enemy might take 
advantage of our position and move upon Richmond, I 
determined to ascend the Valley and cross into Culpeper. 
Two corps are here with me. The third passed Thorn- 


ton's Gap, and I hope will be in striking distance to- 
morrow. The army has laboured hard, endured much, 
and behaved nobly. It has accomplished all that could 
be reasonably expected. It ought not to have been 
expected to perform impossibilities, or to have fulfilled 
the anticipations of the thoughtless and unreasonable." 

On August 2d, from the same camp, he again writes 
to my mother: 

". . . I have heard of some doctor having reached 
Richmond, who had seen our son at Fortress Monroe. 
He said that his wound was improving, and that he 
himself was well and walking about on crutches. 
The exchange of prisoners that had been going on has, 
for some cause, been suspended, owing to some crotchet 
or other, but I hope will soon be resumed, and that we 
shall have him back soon. The armies are in such close 
proximity that frequent collisions are common along the 
outposts. Yesterday the enemy laid down two or three 
pontoon bridges across the Rappahannock and crossed 
his cavalry, with a big force of his infantry. It looked 
at first as if it were the advance of his army, and, as I had 
not intended to deliver battle, I directed our cavalry to 
retire slowly before them and to check their too rapid 
pursuit. Finding, later in the day, that their army was 
not following, I ordered out the infantry and drove them 
back to the river. I suppose they intended to push on 
to Richmond by this or some other route. I trust, how- 
ever, they will never reach there. . . ." 

On August 23d, from the camp near Orange Court 
House, General Lee writes to Mrs. Lee: 

" . . . My camp is near Mr. Erasmus Taylor's 
house, who has been very kind in contributing to our 
comfort. His wife sends us, every day, buttermilk, loaf 
bread, ice, and such vegetables as she has. I cannot get 


her to desist, though I have made two special visits to 
that effect. All the brides have come on a visit to the 
army: Mrs. Ewell, Mrs. Walker, Mrs. Heth, etc. Gen- 
eral Meade's army is north of the Rappahannock along 
the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. He is very 
quiet. . . ." 

''September 4, 1863. 
" . . . You see I am still here. When I wrote last, 
the indications were that the enemy would move against 
us any day; but this past week he has been very 
quiet, and seems at present to continue so. I was out 
looking at him yesterday, from Clarke's Mountain. 
He has spread himself over a large surface and looks 
immense. . . ." 

And on September 18th, from the same camp: 

" . . . The enemy state that they have heard of a 
great reduction in our forces here, and are now going to 
drive us back to Richmond. I trust they will not suc- 
ceed; but our hope and our refuge is in our merciful 
Father in Heaven. . . ." 

On October 9th, the Army of Northern Virginia was 
put in motion, and was pushed around Meade's right. 
Meade was gradually forced back to a position near the 
old battlefield at Manassas. Although we had hard 
marching, much skirmishing, and several severe fights 
between the cavalry of both armies, nothing permanent 
was accomplished, and in about ten days we were back 
on our old lines. In a letter of October 19, 1863, to his 
wife, my father says: 

". . . I have returned to the Rappahannock. I 
did not pursue with the main army beyond Bristoe or 
Broad Run. Our advance went as far as Bull Run, 
where the enemy was entrenched, extending his right 


as far as ' Chantilfy, ' in the yard of which he was building 
a redoubt. I could have thrown him farther back, but 
saw no chance of bringing him to battle, and it would 
only have served to fatigue our troops by advancing 
farther. I should certainly have endeavored to throw 
them north of the Potomac ; but thousands were bare- 
footed, thousands with fragments of shoes, and all with- 
out overcoats, blankets, or warm clothing. I could not 
bear to expose them to certain suffering and an uncertain 
issue. . . ." 

On October 25th, from ''Camp Rappahannock," he 
writes again to my mother: 

" . . . I moved yesterday into a nice pine thicket, 
and Perry is to-day engaged in constructing a chimney 
in front of my tent, which will make it warm and com- 
fortable. I have no idea when Fitzhugh* will be ex- 
changed. The Federal authorities still resist all ex- 
changes, because they think it is to our interest to make 
them. Any desire expressed on our part for the exchange 
of any individual magnifies the difficulty, as they at once 
think some great benefit is to result to us from it. His 
detention is very grievous to me, and, besides, I want 
his services. I am glad you have some socks for the 
army. Send them to me. They will come safely. Tell 
the girls* to send all they can. I wish they could make 
some shoes, too. We have thousands of barefooted 
men. There is no news. General Meade, I believe, is 
repairing the railroad, and I presume will come on again. 
If I could only get some shoes and clothes for the men, 
I would save him the trouble. . . ." 

One can see from these letters of my father how deeply 
he felt for the sufferings of his soldiers, and how his plans 
were hindered by inadequate supplies of food and clothing. 
I heard him constantly allude to these troubles; indeed, 
they seemed never absent from his mind. 

* His son, Major General Fitaiiugh Lee. 

* His daughters, 


The Winter of 1863-4 

the lee family in richmond — the general's letters 
to them from camps rappahannock and rapidan 
— death of mrs. fitzhugh lee — preparations to 
meet general grant the wilderness — spott- 



My mother had quite recently rented a house on Clay 
Street in Richmond which, though small, gave her a roof 
of her own, and it also enabled her at times to entertain 
some of her many friends. Of this new home, and of 
a visit of a soldier's wife to him, the General thus writes : 

"Camp Rappahannock, November 1, 1863. 
"I received yesterday, dear Mary, your letter of the 
29th, and am very glad to learn that you find your new 
abode so comfortable and so well arranged. The only 
fault I find in it is that it is not large enough for you 
all, and that Charlotte, whom I fear requires much 
attention, is by herself. Where is ' Life ' to go, too, for 
I suppose she is a very big personage? But you have 
never told me where it is situated, or how I am to direct 
to you. Perhaps that may be the cause of delay in my 
letters. I am sorry you find such difficulty in procuring 
yarn for socks, etc. I fear my daughters have not taken 
to the spinning-wheel and loom, as I have recommended. 
I shall not be able to recommend them to the brave 
soldiers for wives. I had a visit from a soldier's wife 
to-day, who was on a visit to her husband. She was 
from Abbeville district, S. C. Said she had not seen her 


THE WINTER OF 1863-4 113 

husband for more than two years, and, as he had written 
to her for clothes, she herself thought she would bring 
them on. It was the first time she had travelled by rail- 
road, but she got along very well by herself. She brought 
an entire suit of her own manufacture for her husband. 
She spun the yarn and made the clothes herself. She 
clad her three children in the same way, and had on a 
beautiful pair of gloves she had made for herself. Her 
children she had left with her sister. She said she had 
been here a week and must return to-morrow, and 
thought she could not go back without seeing me. Her 
husband accompanied her to my tent, in his nice gray 
suit. She was very pleasing in her address and modest 
in her manner, and was clad in a nice, new alpaca. I 
am certain she could not have made that. Ask Misses 
Agnes and Sally Warwick what they think of that. 
They need not ask me for permission to get married until 
they can do likewise. She, in fact, was an admirable 
woman. Said she was willing to give up everything she 
had in the world to attain our independence, and the 
only complaint she made of the conduct of our enemies 
was their arming our servants against us. Her greatest 
difficulty was to procure shoes. She made them for 
herself and children of cloth with leather soles. She sat 
with me about ten minutes and took her leave — another 
mark of sense — and made no request for herself or husband. 
I wrote you about my wants in my former letter. My 
rheumatism I hope is a little better, but I have had 
to-day, and indeed always have, much pain. I trust 
it will pass away. ... I have just had a visit from 
my nephews, Fitz, John, and Henry.* The former is 
now on a little expedition. The latter accompanies him. 
As soon as I was left alone, I committed them in a fervent 
prayer to the care and guidance of our Heavenly Father. 
. . . I pray you may be made whole and happy. 
" Truly and devotedly yours, 

"R. E. Lee." 

* General "Fitz" Lee, and his two brothers, Major John Mason Lee 
and Captain Henry Carter Lee. 


Another letter from the same camp is interesting: 

"Camp Rappahannock, November 5, 1863. 

"I received last night, dear Mary, your letter of the 
2d. . . . I am glad to hear that Charlotte is better. 
I hope that she will get strong and well, poor child. The 
visit of her 'grandpa' will cheer her up. I trust, and I 
know, he gave her plenty of good advice. Tell Mrs. 
Atkinson that her son Nelson is a very good scout and a 
good soldier. I wish I had some way of promoting 
him. I received the bucket of butter she was so kind as 
to send me, but have had no opportunity of returning the 
vessel, which I hope to be able to do. I am sorry Smith 
does not like your house. I have told you my only ob- 
jection to it, and wish it were large enough to hold Char- 
lotte. It must have reminded you of old times to have 
your brother Carter and Uncle Williams * to see you. I 
think my rheumatism is better to-day. I have been 
through a great deal with comparatively little suffering. 
I have been wanting to review the cavalry for some time, 
and appointed to-day with fear and trembling. I had 
not been on horseback for five days previously and feared 
I should not get through. The governor was here and 
told me Mrs. Letcher had seen you recently. I saw all 
my nephews looking very handsome, and Rob too. The 
latter says he has written to you three times since he 
crossed the river. Tell " Chas." I think F's old regiment, 
the 9th, made the best appearance in review. 

" While on the ground, a man rode up to me and said 
he was just from Alexandria and had been requested to 
give me a box, which he handed me, but did not know 
who sent it. It contained a handsome pair of gilt spurs. 
Good-night. May a kind heavenly Father guard you all. 
"Truly and affectionately, 

"R. E. Lee." 

*Mr. Charles Carter Lee, the General's brother ; Mr. Williams Carter, 
the General's uncle. 

THE WINTER OF 1863-4 115 

When our cavalry was reviewed the preceding summer, 
it happened that we engaged the next day, June 9th, the 
enemy's entire force of that arm, in the famous battle 
of Brandy Station. Since then there had been a sort of 
superstition amongst us that if we wanted a fight all that 
was necessary was to have a review. We were now on 
the same ground we had occupied in June, and the enemy 
was in force just across the river. As it happened, the 
fighting did take place, though the cavalry was not alone 
engaged. Not the day after the review, but on November 
7th, Meade advanced and crossed the Rappahannock, 
while our army fell back and took up our position on 
the line of the Rapidan. 

Before the two armies settled down into winter quarters, 
General Meade tried once more to get at us, and on the 
26th of November, with ten days' rations and in light 
marching order, he crossed the Rapidan and attempted 
to turn our right. But he was unable to do anything, 
being met at every point by the Army of Northern 
Virginia, heavily entrenched and anxious for an attack. 
Long says : 

"Meade declared that the position could not be carried 
without the loss of thirty thousand men. This con- 
tingency was too terrible to be entertained — yet the 
rations of the men were nearly exhausted, and nothing 
remained but retreat. This was safely accomplished on 
the night of December 1st. . . ." 

Lee was more surprised at the retreat of Meade than 
he had been at his advance, and his men, who had been in 
high spirits at the prospect of obliterating the memory 
of Gettysburg, were sadly disappointed at the loss of 
the opportunity. To my mother, General Lee wrote on 
December 4th, from "Camp Rapidan": 


" . . . You will probably have seen that General 
Meade has retired to his old position on the Rappahan- 
nock, without giving us battle. I had expected from his 
movements, and all that I had heard, that it Was his 
intention to do so, and after the first day, when I thought 
it necessary to skirmish pretty sharply with him, on 
both flanks, to ascertain his views, I waited, patiently, 
his attack. On Tuesday, however, I thought he had 
changed his mind, and that night made preparations to 
move around his left next morning and attack him. But 
when day dawned he was nowhere to be seen. He had 
commenced to withdraw at dark Tuesday evening. We 
pursued to the Rapidan, but he was over. Owing to 
the nature of the ground, it was to our advantage to 
receive rather than to make the attack. I am greatly 
disappointed at his getting off with so little damage, 
but we do not know what is best for us. I believe a kind 
God has ordered all things for our good. . . ." 

About this time the people of the City of Richmond, to 
show their esteem for my father, desired to present him 
with a home. General Lee, on hearing of it, thus wrote 
to the President of the Council: 

" . . . I assure you, sir, that no want of apprecia- 
tion of the honour conferred upon me by this resolution — 
or insensibility to the kind feelings which prompted it — 
induces me to ask, as I most respectfully do, that no 
further proceedings be taken with reference to the sub- 
ject. The house is not necessary for the use of my family, 
and my own duties will prevent my residence in Rich- 
mond. I should therefore be compelled to decline the 
generous offer, and I trust that whatever means the City 
Council may have to spare for this purpose may be 
devoted to the relief of the families of our soldiers in the 
field, who are more in want of assistance, and more de- 
serving it, than myself. . . ." 

THE WINTER OF 1863-4 117 

My brother was still in prison, and his detention gave 
my father great concern. In a letter to my mother, 
written November 21st, he says: 

". . . I see by the papers that our son has been 
sent to Fort Lafayette. Any place would be better than 
Fort Monroe, with Butler in command. His long con- 
finement is very grievous to me, yet it may all turn out 
for the best. . . ." 

To his daughter-in-law my father was devotedly 
attached. His love for her was like that for his own 
children, and when her husband was captured and thrown, 
wounded, into prison, his great tenderness for her was 
shown on all occasions. Her death about this time, 
though expected, was a great blow to him. When 
news came to Gen. W. H. F. Lee, at Fortress Monroe, that 
his wife Charlotte was dying in Richmond, he made 
application to General Butler, commanding that post, 
that he be allowed to go to her for 48 hours, his brother 
Custis Lee, of equal rank with himself, having formally 
volunteered in writing to take his place, as a hostage, 
until he should return to his captivity. This request 
was curtly and peremptorily refused. 

In his letter to my mother, of December 27th, my 
father says: 

"■. . . Custis's despatch which I received last night 
demolished all the hopes, in which I had been indulging 
during the day, of dear Charlotte's recovery. It has 
pleased God to take from us one exceedingly dear to us, 
and we must be resigned to His holy will. She, I trust, will 
enjoy peace and happiness forever, while we must pa- 
tiently struggle on under all the ills that may be in store 
for us. What a glorious thought it is that she has joined 


her little cherubs and our angel Annie* in Heaven. Thus 
is link by link the strong chain broken that binds us to 
earth, and our passage soothed to another world. Oh, 
that we may be at last united in that heaven of rest, 
where trouble and sorrow never enter, to join in an ever- 
lasting chorus of praise and glory to our Lord and Saviour ! 
I grieve for our lost darling as a father only can grieve 
for a daughter, and my sorrow is heightened by the 
thought of the anguish her death will cause our dear 
son and the poignancy it will give to the bars of his 
prison. May God in His mercy enable him to bear the 
blow He has so suddenly dealt, and sanctify it to his 
everlasting happiness ! ' ' 

After Meade's last move, the weather becoming wintry, 
the troops fixed up for themselves winter quarters, and the 
cavalry and artillery were sent back along the line of the 
Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad, where forage could be 
more easily obtained for their horses. On January 24, 
1864, the General writes to my mother: 

" . . . I have had to disperse the cavalry as much 
as possible, to obtain forage for their horses, and it is 
that which causes trouble. Provisions for the men, too, 
are very scarce, and, with very light diet and light cloth- 
ing, I fear they suffer, but still they are cheerful and 
uncomplaining. I received a report from one division 
the other day in which it stated that over four hundred 
men were barefooted and over a thousand without 

Lee was the idol of his men. Colonel Charles Marshall, 
who was his A. D. C. and military secretary, illustrates 
this well in the following incident : 

" While the Army was on the Rapidan, in the winter of 
1863-4, it became necessary, as was often the case, to 

* His second daughter. 

THE WINTER OF 1863-4 119 

put the men on very short rations. Their duty was hard, 
not only on the outposts during the winter, but in the con- 
struction of roads, to facilitate communication between 
the different parts of the army. One day General Lee 
received a letter from a private soldier, whose name I do 
not now remember, informing him of the work that he had 
to do, and stating that his rations were not sufficient to 
enable him to undergo the fatigue. He said, however, 
that if it was absolutely necessary to put him upon such 
short allowance, he would make the best of it, but that 
he and his comrades wanted to know if General Lee was 
aware that his men were getting so little to eat, because 
if he was aware of it he was sure there must be some 
necessity for it. General Lee did not reply directly to 
the letter, but issued a general order in which he informed 
the soldiers of his efforts in their behalf, and that their 
privation was beyond his means of present relief, but 
assured them that he was making every effort to procure 
sufficient supplies. After that there was not a murmur 
in the army, and the hungry men went cheerfully to their 
hard work." 

When I returned to the army in the summer, I reported 
to my old brigade, which was gallantly commanded by 
John R. Chambliss, Colonel of the 13th Virginia Cavalry, 
the senior officer of the brigade. Later, I had been assigned 
to duty with General Fitz Lee and was with him at this 
time. My mother was anxious that I should be with 
my father, thinking, I have no doubt, that my continued 
presence would be a comfort to him. She must have 
written him to that effect, for in a letter to her, dated 
February, 1864, he says: 

" . . . In reference to Rob, his company would be a 
great pleasure and comfort to me, and he would be 
extremely useful in various ways, but I am opposed to 
officers surrounding themselves with their sons and 


relatives. It is wrong in principle, and in that case 
selections would be made from private and social rela- 
tions, rather than for the public good. There is the same 
objection to his going with Fitz Lee. I should prefer Rob's 
being in the line, in an independent position, where he 
could rise by his own merit and not through the recom- 
mendation of his relatives. I expect him soon, when I 
can better see what he himself thinks. The young men 
have no fondness for the society of the old general. He 
is too heavy and sombre for them. . . ." 

If anything was said to me on this occasion by my 
father, I do not remember it. I rather think that some- 
thing prevented the interview, for I cannot believe that 
it could have entirely escaped my memory. At any 
rate, I remained with General Fitz Lee until my brother's 
return from prison in April of that year. Fitz Lee's 
brigade camped near Charlottesville, on the Chesapeake 
& Ohio Rilroad, in January, in order that forage could 
be more readily obtained. The officers, to amuse them- 
selves and to return in part the courtesies and kindnesses 
of the ladies of the town, gave a ball. It was a grand 
affair for those times. Committees were appointed and 
printed invitations issued. As a member of the invita- 
tion committee, I sent one to the general commanding 
the army. Here is his opinion of it, in a letter to me : 

" . . . I inclose a letter for you, which has been 
sent to my care. I hope you are well and all around 
you are so. Tell Fitz I grieve over the hardships and 
sufferings of his men, in their late expedition. I should 
have preferred his waiting for more favourable weather. 
He accomplished much under the circumstances, but 
would have done more in better w r eather. I am afraid 
he was anxious to get back to the ball. This is a bad 
time for such things. We have too grave subjects on 

THE WINTER OF 1863-4 121 

hand to engage in such trivial amusements. I would 
rather his officers should entertain themselves in fattening 
their horses, healing their men, and recruiting their 
regiments. There are too many Lees on the committee. 
I like all to be present at battles, but can excuse them at 
balls. But the saying is, ' Children will be children. ' 
I think he had better move his camp farther from Char- 
lottesville, and perhaps he will get more work and less 
play. He and I are too old for such assemblies. I want 
him to write me how his men are, his horses, and what 
I can do to fill up the ranks. . . ." 

In this winter and spring of 1864, every exertion pos- 
sible was made by my father to increase the strength of 
his army and to improve its efficiency. He knew full well 
that the enemy was getting together an enormous force, 
and that his vast resources would be put forth to crush 
us in the spring. His letters at this time to President 
Davis and the Secretary of War show how well he 
understood the difficulties of his position. 

" In none of them," General Long says, "does he show 
a symptom of despair or breathe a thought of giving up 
the contest. To the last, he remained full of resources, 
energetic and defiant, and ready to bear upon his shoul- 
ders the whole burden of the conduct of the war. ' ' 

In a letter to President Davis, written March, 1864, he 

"Mr. President : Since my former letter on the subject, 
the indications that operations in Virginia will be vigor- 
ously prosecuted by the enemy are stronger than they 
then were. General Grant has returned from the army 
in the West. He is, at present, with the Army of the 
Potomac, which is being organised and recruited. . . . 
Every train brings recruits, and it is stated that every 
available regiment at the North is added to it. . . . 



Their plans are not sufficiently developed to discover 
them, but I think we can assume that, if General Grant is 
to direct operations on this frontier, he will concentrate a 
large force on one or more lines, and prudence dictates 
that we should make such preparations as are in our 
power. . . ." 

On April 6th he again writes to the President : 

". . . All the information I receive tends to show 
that the great effort of the enemy in this campaign will be 
made in Virginia. . . . Reinforcements are certainly 
daily arriving to the Army of the Potomac. . . . The 
tone of the Northern papers, as well as the impression 
prevailing in their armies, go to show that Grant with a 
large force is to move against Richmond. . . . The 
movements and reports of the enemy may be intended to 
mislead us, and should therefore be carefully observed. 
But all the information that reaches me goes to strengthen 
the belief that General Grant is preparing to move against 

The question of feeding his army was ever before him. 
To see his men hungry and cold, and his horses ill fed, was 
a great pain to him. To Mr. Davis he thus writes on this 
subject : 

"Headquarters, April 12, 1864. 
"Mr. President: My anxiety on the subject of pro- 
visions for the army is so great that I cannot refrain from 
expressing it to Your Excellency. I cannot see how we 
can operate with our present supplies. Any derange- 
ment in their arrival or disaster to the railroad would ren- 
der it impossible for me to keep the army together, and 
might force a retreat into North Carolina. There is noth- 
ing to be had in this section for men or animals. We 
have rations for the troops to-day and to-morrow. I 
hope a new supply arrived last night, but I have not yet 

THE WINTER OF 1863-4 123 

had a report. Every exertion should be made to supply 
the depots at Richmond and at other points. All pleasure 
travel should cease, and everything be devoted to neces- 
sary wants. 

" I am, with great respect, your obedient servant, 

"R. E. Lee, General." 

In a letter written to our cousin, Margaret Stuart, of 
whom he was very fond, dated March 29th, he says: 

". . . The indications at present are that we shall 
have a hard struggle. General Grant is with the Army 
of the Potomac. All the officers' wives, sick, etc., have been 
sent to Washington. No ingress into or egress from the 
lines is now permitted and no papers are allowed to come 
out — they claim to be assembling a large force. . . ." 

Again, April 28th, he writes to this same young cousin: 

". . . I dislike to send letters within reach of the 
enemy, as they might serve, if captured, to bring distress 
on others. But you must sometimes cast your thoughts 
on the Army of Northern Virginia, and never forget it in 
your prayers. It is preparing for a great struggle, but I 
pray and trust that the great God, mighty to deliver, will 
spread over it His almighty arms, and drive its enemies 
before it. . . ." 

One perceives from these letters how clearly my father 
foresaw the storm that was so soon to burst upon him. 
He used every means within his power to increase and 
strengthen his army to meet it, and he continually urged 
the authorities at Richmond to make preparations in the 
way of supplies of ammunition, rations, and clothing. 

I shall not attempt to describe any part of this cam- 
paign except in a very general way. It has been well 
written up by both sides, and what was done by the Army 


of Northern Virginia we all know. I saw my father only 
once or twice, to speak to him, during the thirty odd days 
from the Wilderness to Petersburg, but, in common with 
all his soldiers, I felt that he was ever near, that he could 
be entirely trusted with the care of us, that he would not 
fail us, that it would all end well. The feeling of trust 
that we had in him was simply sublime. When I say 
"we," I mean the men of my age and standing, officers 
and privates alike. Older heads may have begun to see 
the " beginning of the end " when they saw that slaughter 
and defeat did not deter our enemy, but made him the 
more determined in his "hammering" process; but it 
never occurred to me, and to thousands and thousands 
like me, that there was any occasion for uneasiness. We 
firmly believed that "Marse Robert," as his soldiers lov- 
ingly called him, would bring us out of this trouble all 

When Grant reached Spottsylvania Court House, he 
sent all of his cavalry, under Sheridan, to break our com- 
munications. They were met at Yellow Tavern, six miles 
from Richmond, by General Stuart, with three brigades 
of Confederate cavalry, and were attacked so fiercely that 
they were held there nearly all day, giving time for the 
troops around and in Richmond to concentrate for the 
defense of the city. 

In this fight General Stuart fell mortally wounded, and 
he died the next day in Richmond. The death of our 
noted cavalry leader was a great blow to our cause — a loss 
second only to that of Jackson. 

Captain W. Gordon McCabe writes me : 

" I was sitting on my horse very near to General Lee, 
who was talking to my colonel, William Johnson Pegram, 
when a courier galloped up with the despatch announcing 

THE WINTER OF 1863-4 125 

that Stuart had been mortally wounded and was dying. 
General Lee was evidently greatly affected, and said 
slowly, as he folded up the despatch, ' General Stuart has 
been mortally wounded : a most valuable and able officer. ' 
Then, after a moment, he added in a voice of deep feeling, 
1 He never brought me a piece of false information' — turned 
and looked away. What praise dearer to a soldier's heart 
could fall from the lips of the commanding general 
touching his Chief of Cavalry ! These simple words of 
Lee constitute, I think, the fittest inscription for the 
monument that is soon to be erected to the memory of 
the great cavalry leader of the 'Army of Northern 

In a letter from my father to my mother, dated Spott- 
sylvania Court House, May 16th, he says: 

". . . As I write I am expecting the sound of the 
guns every moment. I grieve over the loss of our gallant 
officers and men, and miss their aid and sympathy. A 
more zealous, ardent, brave, and devoted soldier than 
Stuart the Confederacy cannot have. Praise be to God 
for having sustained us so far. I have thought of you very 
often in these eventful days. God bless and preserve 

General Lee, in his order announcing the death of 
Stuart, thus speaks of him: 

". . . Among the gallant soldiers who have fallen 
in this war, General Stuart was second to none in valour, 
in zeal, and in unflinching devotion to his country. His 
achievements form a conspicuous part of the history of 
this army, with which his name and services will be for- 
ever associated. To military capacity of a high order 
and to the noble virtues of the soldier he added the 
brighter graces of a pure life, guided and sustained by the 
Christian's faith and hope. The mysterious hand of an 



all-wise God has removed him from the scene of his use- 
fulness and fame. His grateful countrymen will mourn 
his loss and cherish his memory. To his comrades in 
arms he has left the proud recollections of his deeds and 
the inspiring influence of his example." 

Speaking of the operations around Spottsylvania 
Court House, Swinton, the historian of the Army of the 
Potomac, says: 

" Before the lines of Spottsylvania, the Army of the 
Potomac had for twelve days and nights engaged in a 
fierce wrestle in which it had done all that valour may do 
to carry a position by nature and art impregnable. In 
this contest, unparalleled in its continuous fury, and 
swelling to the proportions of a campaign, language is 
inadequate to convey an impression of the labours, 
fatigues, and sufferings of the troops, who fought by day, 
only to march by night, from point to point of the long 
line, and renew the fight on the morrow. Above forty 
thousand men had already fallen in the bloody encoun- 
ters of the Wilderness and Spottsylvania, and the ex- 
hausted army began to lose its spirits. It was with joy, 
therefore, that it at length turned its back upon the lines 
of Spottsylvania." 

General Long, in his " Memoirs of General Lee," speak- 
ing of our army at this time, says : 

"In no previous operations did the Army of Northern 
Virginia display higher soldierly qualities. Regardless 
of numbers, every breach was filled, and, with unparal- 
leled stubbornness, its lines were maintained. The sol- 
diers of that army not only gratified their countrymen, 
but by their gallantry and vigour won the admiration of 
their enemies. Wherever the men in blue appeared they 
were met by those in gray, and muzzle to muzzle and 
point to point they measured their foeman's strength/' 

THE WINTER OF 1863-4 127 

When we learned that General Lee was ill — confined 
for a day or two to his tent, at the time he was confronting 
General Grant on the North Anna — this terrible thought 
forced itself upon us : Suppose disease should disable him, 
even for a time, or, worse, should take him forever from 
the front of his men ! It could not be ! It was too awful 
to consider ! And we banished any such possibility from 
our minds. When we saw him out again, on the lines, 
riding Traveller as usual, it was as if some great crushing 
weight had been suddenly lifted from our hearts. Colonel 
Walter H. Taylor, his adjutant -general, says : 

"The indisposition of General Lee . . . was more 
serious than was generally supposed. Those near him 
were very apprehensive lest he should be compelled to 
give up." 

General Early also writes of this circumstance : 

" One of his three corps commanders* had been disabled 
by wounds at the Wilderness, and another was too unwell 
to command his corps t, while he (General Lee) was suf- 
fering from a most annoying and weakening disease. In 
fact, nothing but his own determined will enabled him to 
keep the field at all ; and it was then rendered more mani- 
fest than ever that he was the head and front, the very 
life and soul of the army." 

* Longstreet. 
t A. P. Hill. 


Fronting the Army of the Potomac 

battle of cold harbour — siege of petersburg — the 
general intrusts a mission to his son, robert — 

battle of the crater grant crosses the james 

river — general long's pen-picture of lee — 
knitting socks for the soldiers — a christmas 
dinner — incidents of camp life 

From the North Anna River the Federal Army moved 
by its left flank, seeking to find its adversary unprepared, 
but the Army of Northern Virginia steadily confronted it, 
ever ready to receive any attack. At Cold Harbour they 
paused, facing each other, and General Grant, having 
received sixteen thousand men from Butler by way of 
Yorktown on June ist, made an attack, but found our 
lines immovable. In his " Memoirs " he writes : 

"June 2d was spent in getting troops into position for 
attack on the 3d. On June 3d, we again assaulted the 
enemy's work in the hope of driving him from his position. 
In this attempt our loss was heavy, while that of the 
enemy, I have reason to believe, was comparatively light." 

This assault was repelled along the whole line, with the 
most terrible slaughter yet recorded in our war. Yet in 
a few hours these beaten men were ordered to move up to 
our lines again. Swinton, the historian of the Army of 
the Potomac, thus describes what happened when this 
order was sent to the men: 



J< The order was issued through these officers" (the 
„orps commanders) "to their subordinate commanders, 
and from them descended through the wonted channels ; 
but no man stirred, and the immobile lines pronounced 
a verdict, silent, yet emphatic, against further slaughter. 
The loss on the Union side in this sanguinary action was 
more than thirteen thousand, while on the part of the 
Confederates it is doubtful whether it reached that many 

Colonel Walter H. Taylor, in his " Four Years with 
General Lee," says: 

" Soon after this, he (Grant) abandoned his chosen line 
of operations, and moved his army to the south side of 
the James River. The struggle from the Wilderness to 
this point covers a period of about one month, during 
which time there had been an almost daily encounter of 
hostile arms, and the Army of Northern Virginia had 
placed hors de combat of the army under General Grant a 
number equal to its entire numerical strength at the com- 
mencement of the campaign, and, notwithstanding its 
own heavy losses and the reinforcements received by the 
enemy, still presented an impregnable front to its oppo- 
nent, and constituted an insuperable barrier to General 
Grant's ' On to Richmond.' " 

Thus after thirty days of marching, starving, fighting, 
and with a loss of more than sixty thousand men, General 
Grant reached the James River, near Petersburg, which 
he could have done at any time he so desired without the 
loss of a single man. The baffling of our determined foe 
so successfully raised the spirits of our rank and file, and 
their confidence in their commander knew no bounds. 

The two armies now commenced a contest which could 
end only one way. If General Lee had been permitted to 
evacuate Petersburg and Richmond, to fall back upon 


some interior point, nearer supplies for man and beast 
and within supporting distance of the remaining forces of 
the Confederacy, the surrender would certainly have been 
put off — possibly never have taken place — and the result 
of the war changed. The Army of the Potomac placed 
itself on the James, through whose channel it had easy 
access to the wide world whence to secure for itself an 
unlimited supply of men and munitions of war. General 
Lee, with a line thirty miles long to defend and with only 
35,000 men to hold it, with no chance of reinforcements, 
no reserves with which to fill up the ranks lessened daily 
by death in battle and by disease, had to sit still and see 
his army, on half rations or less, melt away because it was 
deemed advisable by his government, for political and 
other purposes, to hold Richmond, the Confederacy's 

In an article by Lord Wolseley, in Mactnillan's Maga- 
zine, he says : 

" Lee was opposed to the final defense of Richmond that 
was urged upon him for political, not military reasons. 
It was a great strategic error. General Grant's large 
army of men was easily fed, and its daily losses easily 
recruited from a near base ; whereas, if it had been drawn 
far into the interior after the little army with which Lee 
endeavoured to protect Richmond, its fighting strength 
would have been largely reduced by the detachments 
required to guard a long line of communications through 
a hostile country." 

During the nine months the siege of Petersburg lasted, 
I saw my father but seldom. His headquarters were near 
the town, my command was on the extreme right of the 
army, and during the winter, in order to get forage, we 
were moved still further away, close to the border of North 


Carolina. During this summer, I had occasion, once or 
twice, to report to him at his headquarters, once about 
July 1st by his special order. I remember how we all 
racked our brains to account for this order, which was for 
me to report "at once to the commanding general," and 
many wild guesses were made by my young companions 
as to what was to become of me. Their surmises extended 
from my being shot for unlawful foraging to my being 
sent on a mission abroad to solicit the recognition of our 
independence. I reported at once, and found my father 
expecting me, with a bed prepared. It was characteristic 
of him that he never said a word about what I was wanted 
for until he was ready with full instructions. I was fed 
at once, for I was still hungry, my bed was shown me, and 
I was told to rest and sleep well, as he wanted me in the 
morning, and that I would need all my strength. 

The next morning he gave me a letter to General Early, 
who, with his command, was at that time in Maryland, 
-threatening Washington. My mission was to carry this 
letter to him. As Early had cut loose from his com- 
munications with Virginia, and as there was a chance of 
any messenger to him being caught by raiding parties, 
my father gave me verbally the contents of his letter, 
and told me that if I saw any chance of my capture to 
destroy it, then, if I did reach the General, I should be 
able to tell him what he had written. He cautioned me 
to keep my own counsel, and to say nothing to any one 
as to my destination. Orders for a relay of horses from 
Staunton, where the railroad terminated, to the Potomac 
had been telegraphed, and I was to start at once. This 
I did, seeing my sisters and mother in Richmond while 
waiting for the train to Staunton, and having very great 
difficulty in keeping from them my destination. But I 


did, and, riding night and day, came up with General 
Early at a point in Maryland some miles beyond the old 
battlefield of Sharpsburg. I delivered the letter to him, 
returned to Petersburg, and reported to my father. Much 
gratified by the evident pleasure of the General at my 
diligence and at the news I had brought from Early and 
his men, after a night's rest and two good meals I returned 
to my command, never telling my comrades until long 
afterward what had been done to me by the commanding 

My father's relations with the citizens of Petersburg 
were of the kindest description. The ladies were ever 
trying to make him more comfortable, sending him of 
their scanty fare more than they could well spare. He 
always tried to prevent them, and when he could do so 
without hurting their feelings he would turn over to the 
hospitals the dainties sent him — much to the disgust of 
his mess-steward, Bryan. Bryan was an Irishman, per- 
fectly devoted to my father, and, in his opinion, there 
was nothing in the eatable line which was too good for the 
General. He was an excellent caterer, a good forager, and, 
but for my father's frowning down anything approach- 
ing lavishness, the headquarters' table would have 
made a much better show. During this period of 
the war, Bryan was so handicapped by the universal 
scarcity of all sorts of provisions that his talents 
were almost entirely hidden. The ladies not only 
were anxious to feed the General, but also to clothe him. 
From Camp Petersburg he writes to my mother, 
June 24th: 

" . . . The ladies of Petersburg have sent me a 
nice set of shirts. They were given to me by Mrs. James 


R. Branch and her mother, Mrs. Thomas Branch, In 
fact, they have given me everything, which I fear they 
cannot spare — vegetables, bread, milk, ice-cream. To-day 
one of them sent me a nice peach — the first one I think I 
have seen for two years. I sent it to Mrs. Shippen*. 
Mr. Piatt had services again to-day under the trees near 
my camp. We had quite a large congregation of citizens, 
ladies and gentlemen, and our usual number of soldiers. 
During the services, I constantly heard the shells crashing 
among the houses of Petersburg. Tell 'Life't I send 
her a song composed by a French soldier. As she is so 
learned in the language, I want her to send me a reply 
in verse." 

June 30, 1864, the anniversary of his wedding day, he 
thus writes to my mother: 

" . . . I was very glad to receive your letter yester- 
day, and to hear that you were better. I trust that you 
will continue to improve and soon be as well as usual. 
God grant that you may be entirely restored in His own 
good time. Do you recollect what a happy day thirty- 
three years ago this was ? How many hopes and pleasures 
it gave birth to ! God has been very merciful and kind 
to us, and how thankless and sinful I have been. I pray 
that He may continue His mercies and blessings to us, 
and give us a little peace and rest together in this 
world, and finally gather us and all He has given us 
around His throne in the world to come. The Presi- 
dent has just arrived, and I must bring my letter to a 

My mother had been quite ill that summer, and my 
father's anxiety for her comfort and welfare, his desire 
to be w T ith her to help her, was very great. The sick in 

*An invalid lady, in the yard of whose country place ("Violet 
Bank") Lee's tents were pitched. 

f His pet name for my sister Mildred. 


the Confederacy at this period of universal scarcity 
suffered for want of the simplest medicines. All that 
could be had were given to hospitals. To his youngest 
daughter the General writes, and sends to Mrs. Lee what 
little he could find in the way of fruit: 

". . . I received this morning by your brother 
your note of the 3d, and am glad to hear that your mother 
is better. I sent out immediately to try to find some 
lemons, but could only procure two, sent to me by a kind 
lady, Mrs. Kirkland, in Petersburg. These were gathered 
from her own trees. There are none to be purchased. 
I found one in my valise, dried up, which I also send, as 
it may prove of some value. I also put up some early 
apples which you can roast for your mother, and one 
pear. This is all the fruit I can get. You must go to 
market every morning and see if you cannot find some 
fruit for her. There are no lemons to be had. Tell her 
lemonade is not as palatable or digestible as buttermilk. 
Try to get some good buttermilk for her. With ice, it is 
delicious and very nutritious." 

My sister Mildred had a pet squirrel which ran about 
the house in Richmond. She had named it "Custis 
Morgan," after her brother Custis, and General John 
Morgan, the great cavalry leader of the western army. 
He ventured out one day to see the city, and never re- 
turned. In a letter to Mildred, July 10th, my father 
alludes to his escape, and apparently considers it a 
blessing : 

". . . I was pleased on the arrival of my little 
courier to learn that you were better, and that 'Custis 
Morgan ' was still among the missing. I think the farther 
he gets from you the better you will be. The shells 
scattered the poor inhabitants of Petersburg so that 
many of the churches are closed. Indeed, they have been 


visited by the enemy's shells. Mr. Piatt, pastor of the 
principal Episcopal church, had services at my head- 
quarters to-day. The services were under the trees, and 
the discourse on the subject of salvation. . . ." 

About this time, the enemy, having been at work on a 
mine for nearly a month, exploded it, and attacked our 
lines with a large force. The ensuing contest was called the 
Battle of the Crater. General Lee, having suspected that 
a mine was being run under his works, was partly pre- 
pared for it, and the attack was repulsed very quickly 
with great loss to the enemy. In the address of Capt. 
W. Gordon McCabe before the Association of the Army 
of Northern Virginia — November 2, 1876 — speaking of 
this event, he says: 

11 From mysterious paragraphs in the Northern papers, 
and from reports of deserters, though those last were 
vague and contradictory, Lee and Beauregard suspected 
that the enemy was mining in front of some one of the 
three salients on Beauregard's front, and the latter officer 
had in consequence directed counter-mines to be sunk 
from all three, meanwhile constructing gorge -lines in the 
rear upon which the troops might retire in case of sur- 
prise or disaster. . . . But the counter-mining on 
the part of the Confederates was after a time discontinued, 
owing to the lack of proper tools, the inexperience of the 
troops in such work, and the arduous nature of their 
service in the trenches." 

The mine was sprung July 30th. On the 31st, the 
General writes: 

" . . . Yesterday morning the enemy sprung a mine 
under one of our batteries on the line and got possession 
of a portion of our intrenchments. It was the part 
defended by General Beauregard's troops. I sent Gen- 


eral Mahone with two brigades of Hill's corps, who 
charged into them handsomely, recapturing the intrench- 
ments and guns, twelve stands of colours, seventy-three 
officers, including General Bartlett, his staff, three 
colonels, and eight hundred and fifty enlisted men. 
There were upward of five hundred of his dead unburied 
in the trenches, among them many officers and blacks. 
He suffered severely. He has withdrawn his troops from 
the north side of the James. I do not know what he will 
attempt next. He is mining on other points along our 
line. I trust he will not succeed in bettering his last 
attempt. ..." i 

Grant, by means of a pontoon bridge, permanently 
established across the James, was able to move his troops 
very quickly from one side to the other, and could attack 
either flank, while making a feint on the opposite one. 
This occurred several times during the summer, but 
General Lee seemed always to have anticipated the 
movement and to be able to distinguish the feint from 
the real attack. On August 14th, he speaks of one of 
these movements in a letter to my mother*, 

" .' . . I have been kept from church to-day by the 
enemy's crossing to the north side of the James River 
and the necessity of moving troops to meet him. I do 
not know what his intentions are. He is said to be 
cutting a canal across the Dutch Gap, a point in the river 
— but I cannot, as yet, discover it. I was up there yes- 
terday, and saw nothing to indicate it. We shall ascer- 
tain in a day or two. I received to-day a kind letter 
from Reverend Mr. Cole, of Culpeper Court House. He 
is a most excellent man in all the relations of life. He 
says there is not a church standing in all that country, 
within the lines formerly occupied by the enemy. All 
are razed to the ground, and the materials used often for 
the vilest purposes. Two of the churches at the Court 


House barely escaped destruction. The pews were all 
taken out to make seats for the theatre. The fact was 
reported to the commanding officer by their own men of 
the Christian Commission, but he took no steps to rebuke 
or arrest it. We must suffer patiently to the end, wdien 
all things will be made right. . . ." 

To oppose this movement (of August 14th), which was 
in heavy force, our cavalry division was moved over to the 
north side, together with infantry and artillery, and we 
had a very lively time for several days. In the engage- 
ment on the 15 th of August I was shot in the arm and 
disabled for about three weeks. The wound was a very 
simple one — just severe enough to give me a furlough, 
which I enjoyed intensely. Time heals all wounds, it is 
said. I remember it cured mine all too soon, for, being 
on a wounded leave, provided it did not keep one in bed, 
was the best luck a soldier could have. I got back the 
last of September, and in passing stopped to see my 
father. I take from General Long a pen-picture of him 
at this time, which accords with my own recollection 
of his appearance: 

" . . . General Lee continued in excellent health 
and bore his many cares with his usual equanimity. He 
had aged somewhat in appearance since the beginning 
of the war, but had rather gained than lost in physical 
vigour, from the severe life he had led. His hair had 
grown gray, but his face had the ruddy hue of health, 
and his eyes were as clear and bright as ever. His 
dress was always a plain, gray uniform, with cavalry boots 
reaching to his knees, and a broad-brimmed gray felt 
hat. He seldom wore a weapon, and his only mark of 
rank was the stars on his collar. Though always ab- 
stemious in diet, he seemed able to bear any amount 
of fatigue, being capable of remaining in his saddle 
all day and at his desk half the night." 


I cannot refrain from further quoting from the same 
author this beautiful description of the mutual love, 
respect, and esteem existing between my father and his 
soldiers : 

"No commander was ever more careful, and never 
had care for the comfort of an army given rise to greater 
devotion. He was constantly calling the attention of 
the authorities to the wants of his soldiers, making every 
effort to provide them with food and clothing. The 
feeling for him was one of love, not of awe or dread. 
They could approach him with the assurance that they 
would be received with kindness and consideration, and 
that any just complaint would receive proper attention. 
There was no condescension in his manner, but he was 
ever simple, kind, and sympathetic, and his men, while 
having unbounded faith in him as a leader, almost wor- 
shipped him as a man. These relations of affection and 
mutual confidence between the army and its commander 
had much to do with the undaunted bravery displayed 
by the men, and bore a due share in the many victories 
they gained." 

Colonel Charles Marshall, in his address before the 
"Association of the Army of Northern Virginia," also 
alludes to this "wonderful influnce over the troops under 
his command. I can best describe that influence by 
saying that such was the love and veneration of the men 
for him that they came to look upon the cause as General 
Lee's cause, and they fought for it because they loved 
him. To them he represented cause, country, and all." 

All persons who were ever thrown into close relations 
with him had somewhat these same feelings. How 
could they help it? Here is a letter to his youngest 
daughter which shows his beautiful love and tenderness 
for us all. Throughout the war, he constantly took the 


time from his arduous labours to send to his wife and 
daughters such evidences of his affection for them: 

"Camp Petersburg, November 6, 1864. 
"My Precious Life: This is the first day I have had 
leisure to answer your letter. I enjoyed it very much at 
the time of its reception, and have enjoyed it since, but 
I have often thought of you in the meantime, and have 
seen you besides. Indeed, I may say, you are never 
out of my thoughts. I hope you think of me often, and 
if you could know how earnestly I desire your true happi- 
ness, how ardently I pray you may be directed to every 
good and saved from every evil, you would as sincerely 
strive for its accomplishment. Now in your youth 
you must be careful to discipline your thoughts, words, 
and actions. Habituate yourself to useful employment, 
regular improvement, and to the benefit of all those 
around you. You have had some opportunity of learn- 
ing the rudiments of your education — not as good as I 
should have desired, but I am much cheered by the 
belief that you availed yourself of it — and I think you 
are now prepared by diligence and study to learn what- 
ever you desire. Do not allow yourself to forget what 
you have spent so much time and labour in acquiring, 
but increase it every day by extended application. I 
hope you will embrace in your studies all useful acquisi- 
tions. I was much pleased to hear that while at ' Bremo ' 
you passed much of your time in reading and music. All 
accomplishments will enable you to give pleasure, and 
thus exert a wholesome influence. Never neglect the 
means of making yourself useful in the world. I think 
you will not have to complain of Rob again for neglecting 
your schoolmates. He has equipped himself with a new 
uniform .from top to toe, and, with a new and handsome 
horse, is cultivating a marvellous beard and preparing 
for conquest. I went down on the lines to the right, 
Friday, beyond Rowanty Creek, and pitched my camp 
within six miles of Fitzhugh's last night. R^b came up 


and spent the night with me, and Fitzhugh appeared 
early in the morning. They rode with me till late that 
day. I visited the battlefield in that quarter, and General 
Hampton in describing it said there had not been during 
the war a more spirited charge than Fitzhugh 's division 
made that day up the Boydton plank road, driving 
cavalry and infantry before him, in which he was stopped 
by night. I did not know before that his horse had been 
shot under him. Give a great deal of love to your dear 
mother, and kiss your sisters for me. Tell them they 
must keep well, not talk too much, and go to bed early. 
" Ever your devoted father, 

"R. E. Lee." 

He refers in this letter to his coming down near our 
command, and my brother's visit and mine to him. 
Everything was quiet, and we greatly enjoyed seeing 
him and being with him. The weather, too, was fine, 
and he seemed to delight in our ride with him along the 
lines. I don't think I saw him but once more until 
everything was over and we met in Richmond. Some 
time before this, my mother, fearing for his health under 
the great amount of exposure and work he had to do, 
wrote to him and begged him to take better care of him- 
self. In his reply, he says: 

" . . . But what care can a man give to himself 
in the time of war? It is from no desire for exposure 
or hazard that I live in a tent, but from necessity. I 
must be where I can, speedily, at all times, attend to the 
duties of my position, and be near or accessible to the 
officers with whom I have to act. I have been offered 
rooms in the houses of our citizens, but I could not turn 
the dwellings of my kind hosts into a barrack where 
officers, couriers, distressed women, etc., would be 
entering day and night. . . ." 


General Fitz Lee, in his life of my father, says of him 
at this time: 

" Self-possessed and calm, Lee struggled to solve the 
huge military problem, and make the sum of smaller 
numbers equal to that of greater numbers. . . . His 
thoughts ever turned upon the soldiers of his army, the 
ragged gallant fellows around him — whose pinched 
cheeks told hunger was their portion, and whose shivering 
forms denoted the absence of proper clothing." 

His letters to my mother during the winter tell how 
much his men were in need. My mother was an invalid 
from rheumatism, confined to a rolling-chair. To help the 
cause with her own hands as far as she could, she was con- 
stantly occupied in knitting socks for the soldiers, and 
induced all around her to do the same. She sent them 
directly to my father, and he always acknowledged them. 
November 30th, he says: 

". . . I received yesterday your letter on the 27th 
and am glad to learn your supply of socks is so large. 
If two or three hundred would send an equal number, we 
should have a sufficiency. I will endeavour to have 
them distributed to the most needy. . . ." 

And on December 17th: 

". . . I received day before yesterday the box 
with hat, gloves, and socks; also the barrel of apples. 
You had better have kept the latter, as it would have 
been more useful to you than to me, and I should have 
enjoyed its consumption by }^ou and the girls more than 
by me. . . ." 

His friends and admirers were constantly sending him 
presents ; some, simple mementos of their love and afifec- 


tion; others, substantial and material comforts for the 
outer and inner man. The following letter, from its 
date, is evidently an acknowledgment of Christmas 
gifts sent him: 

" December 30th. . . The Lyons furs and fur 
robe have also arrived safely, but I can learn nothing 
of the saddle of mutton. Bryan, of whom I inquired as 
to its arrival, is greatly alarmed lest it has been sent to 
the soldiers' dinner. If the soldiers get it, I shall be 
content. I can do very well without it. In fact, I 
should rather they should have it than I. . . ." 

The soldiers' " dinner" here referred to was a Christmas 
dinner, sent by the entire country, as far as they could, 
to the poor starving men in the trenches and camps 
along the lines. It would not be considered much now, 
but when the conditions were such as my father describes 
when he wrote to the Seeretary of War, 

" The struggle now is to keep the army fed and clothed. 
Only fifty men in some regiments have shoes, and bacon is 
only issued once in a few days," 

anything besides the one-quarter of a pound of bacon and 
musty corn-bread was a treat of great service, and might 
be construed as "a Christmas dinner." 

I have mentioned before my father's devotion to chil- 
dren. This sentiment pervaded his whole nature. At 
any time the presence of a little child would bring a bright- 
ness to his smile, a tender softness to his glance, and drive 
away gloom or care. Here is his account of a visit paid 
him, early in January, 1865, by three little women: 

" . . . Yesterday afternoon three little girls walked 
into my room, each with a small basket. The eldest car- 


ried some fresh eggs, laid by her own hens; the second, 
some pickles made by her mother; the third, some pop- 
corn grown in her garden. They were accompanied by a 
young maid with a block of soap made by her mother. 
They were the daughters of a Mrs. Nottingham, a refugee 
from Northampton County, who lived near Eastville, not 
far from 'old Arlington.' The eldest of the girls, whose 
age did not exceed eight years, had a small wheel on which 
she spun for her mother, who wove all the cloth for her 
two brothers — boys of twelve and fourteen years. I have 
not had so pleasant a visit for a long time. I fortunately 
was able to fill their baskets with apples, which dis- 
tressed poor Bryan*, and I begged them to bring me noth- 
ing but kisses and to keep the eggs, corn, etc., for them- 
selves. I pray daily and almost hourly to our Heavenly 
Father to come to the relief of you and our afflicted coun- 
try. I know He will order all things for our good, and 
we must be content." 
* His mess-steward. 

The Surrender 

fort fisher captured — lee made commander-in-chief 

battle of five forks retreat of the army of 

northern virginia — farewell to his men — the 
general's reception in richmond after the sur- 
render president davis hears the news — lee's 

visitors — his son robert turns farmer 

The year 1865 had now commenced. The strength of 
that thin gray line, drawn out to less than one thousand 
men to the mile, which had repulsed every attempt of the 
enemy to break through it, was daily becoming less. The 
capture of Fort Fisher, our last open port, January 15th, 
cut off all supplies and munitions from the outside world. 
Sherman had reached Savannah in December, from which 
point he was ready to unite with Grant at any time. 
From General Lee's letters, official and private, one gets a 
clear view of the desperateness of his position. He had 
been made commander-in-chief of all the military forces 
in the Confederate States on February 6th. In his order 
issued on accepting this command he says : 

". . . Deeply impressed with the difficulties and 
responsibilities of the position, and humbly invoking the 
guidance of Almighty God, I rely for success upon the 
courage and fortitude of the army, sustained by the 
patriotism and firmness of the people, confident that their 
united efforts under the blessing of Heaven will secure 
peace and independence. . . ." 



General Beauregard, who had so ably defended Peters- 
burg when it was first attacked, and who had assisted so 
materially in its subsequent defense, had been sent to 
gather troops to try to check Sherman's advance through 
the Carolinas. But Beauregard's health was now very 
bad, and it was feared he would have to abandon the field. 
In a letter to the Secretary of War, dated February 21, 
1865, my father says: 

". . . In the event of the necessity of abandoning 
our position on James River, I shall endeavour to unite 
the corps of the army about Burke ville*, so as to retain 
communication with the North and South as long as 
practicable, and also with the West. I should think 
Lynchburg, or some point west, the most advantageous 
place to which to remove stores from Richmond. This, 
however, is a most difficult point at this time to decide, 
and the place may have to be changed by circumstances. 
It was my intention in my former letter to apply for 
General Joseph E. Johnston, that I might assign him to 
duty, should circumstances permit. I have had no 
official report of the condition of General Beauregard's 
health. It is stated from many sources to be bad. If he 
should break down entirely, it might be fatal. In that 
event, I should have no one with whom to supply his place. 
I therefore respectfully request General Johnston may be 
ordered to report to me, and that I may be informed where 
he is." 

In a letter to the Secretary of War, written the next 

". . . But you may expect Sheridan to move up the 
Valley, and Stoneman from Knoxville, as Sherman draws 
near Roanoke. What then will become of those sections 
of the country ? I know of no other troops that could be 

* Junction of Southside and Danville Railroad. 


given to Beauregard. Bragg will be forced back by 
Schofield, I fear, and, until I abandon James River, noth- 
ing can be sent from this army. Grant, I think, is now 
preparing to draw out by his left with the intent of envel- 
oping me. He may wait till his other columns approach 
nearer, or he may be preparing to anticipate my with- 
drawal. I cannot tell yet. . . . Everything of value 
should be removed from Richmond. It is of the first 
importance to save all powder. The cavalry and artillery 
of the army are still scattered for want of provender, and 
our supply and ammunition trains, which ought to be 
with the army in case of a sudden movement, are absent 
collecting provisions and forage — some in western Vir- 
ginia and some in North Carolina. You will see to what 
straits we are reduced; but I trust to work out." 

On the same day, in a letter to my mother, he writes : 

". . . After sending my note this morning, I re- 
ceived from the express office a bag of socks. You will 
have to send down your offerings as soon as you can, and 
bring your work to a close, for I think General Grant will 
move against us soon — within a week, if nothing prevents 
— and no man can tell what may be the result ; but trust- 
ing to a merciful God, who does not always give the battle 
to the strong, I pray we may not be overwhelmed. I 
shall, however, endeavour to do my duty and fight to the 
last. Should it be necessary to abandon our position to 
prevent being surrounded, what will you do ? You must 
consider the question, and make up your mind. It is a 
fearful condition, and we must rely for guidance and pro- 
tection upon a kind Providence. . . ." 

About this time, I saw my father for the last time until 
after the surrender. We had been ordered up to the army 
from our camp nearly forty miles away, reaching the 
vicinity of Petersburg the morning of the attack of 
General Gordon on Fort Stedman, on March 25th. My 


brother and I had ridden ahead of the division to report 
its presence, when we met the General riding Traveller, 
almost alone, back from that part of the lines opposite the 
fort. Since then I have often recalled the sadness of his 
face, its careworn expression. When he caught sight of 
his two sons, a bright smile at once lit up his countenance, 
and he showed very plainly his pleasure at seeing us. He 
thanked my brother for responding so promptly to his call 
upon him, and regretted that events had so shaped them- 
selves that the division would not then be needed, as he 
had hoped it would be. 

No good results followed Gordon's gallant attack. His 
supports did not come up at the proper time, and our 
losses were very heavy, mostly prisoners. Two days 
after this, Sheridan, with ten thousand mounted men, 
joined Grant, having marched from the Valley of Virginia 
via Staunton and Charlottesville. On the 28th, every- 
thing being ready, General Grant commenced to turn our 
right, and having more than three men to our one, he had 
no difficult task. On that very day my father wrote to 
my mother: 

". . . I have received your note with a bag of socks. 
I return the bag and receipt. The count is all right this 
time. I have put in the bag General Scott's autobiog- 
raphy, which I thought you might like to read. The 
General, of course, stands out prominently, and does not 
hide his light under a bushel, but he appears the bold, 
sagacious, truthful man that he is. I inclose a note from 
little Agnes. I shall be very glad to see her to-morrow, 
but cannot recommend pleasure trips now. . . ." 

On April 1st the Battle of Five Forks was fought, where 
about fifty thousand infantry and cavalry — more men 
than wer© in our entire army — attacked our extreme 


right and turned it, so that, to save our communications, 
we had to abandon our lines at Petersburg, giving up that 
city and Richmond. From that time to April 9th the 
Army of Northern Virginia struggled to get back to some 
position where it could concentrate its forces and make a 
stand; but the whole world knows of that six-days' 
retreat. I shall not attempt to describe it in detail — 
indeed, I could not if I would, for I was not present all the 
time — but will quote from those who have made it a study 
and who are far better fitted to record it than I am. 
General Early, in his address at Lexington, Virginia, 
January 19, 1872 — General Lee's birthday — eloquently 
and briefly describes these six days as follows: 

". . . The retreat from the lines of Richmond and 
Petersburg began in the early days of April, and the 
remnant of the Army of Northern Virginia fell back, more 
than one hundred miles, before its overpowering antago- 
nist, repeatedly presenting front to the latter and giving 
battle so as to check his progress. Finally, from mere 
exhaustion, less than eight thousand men with arms in 
their hands, of the noblest army that ever fought ' in the 
tide of time,' were surrendered at Appomattox to an 
army of 150,000 men; the sword of Robert E. Lee, with- 
out a blemish on it, was sheathed forever; and the flag, 
to which he had added such luster, was furled, to be, 
henceforth, embalmed in the affectionate remembrance of 
those who remained faithful during all our trials, and will 
do so to the end." 

Colonel Archer Anderson, in his address at the unveiling 
of the Lee monument in Richmond, Virginia, May 29, 
1890, speaking of the siege of Petersburg and of the sur- 
render, utters these noble words: 

". . . Of the siege of Petersburg, I have only time 
to say that in it for nine months the Confederate com- 


mander displayed every art by which genius and courage 
can make good the lack of numbers and resources. But 
the increasing misfortunes of the Confederate arms on 
other theatres of the war gradually cut off the supply of 
men and means. The Army of Northern Virginia ceased 
to be recruited, it ceased to be adequately fed. It lived 
for months on less than one-third rations. It was demor- 
alised, not by the enemy in its front, but by the enemy 
in Georgia and the Carolinas. It dwindled to 35,000 men, 
holding a front of thirty-five miles ; but over the enemy it 
still cast the shadow of its great name. Again and again, 
by a bold offensive, it arrested the Federal movement to 
fasten on its communications. At last, an irresistible 
concentration of forces broke through its long thin line of 
battle. Petersburg had to be abandoned. Richmond 
was evacuated. Trains bearing supplies were intercepted, 
and. a starving army, harassed for seven days by incessant 
attacks on rear and flank, found itself completely hemmed 
in by overwhelming masses. Nothing remained to it but 
its stainless honour, its unbroken courage. In those last 
solemn scenes, when strong men, losing all self-control, 
broke down and sobbed like children, Lee stood forth as 
great as in the days of victory and triumph. No disaster 
crushed his spirit, no extremity of danger ruffled his bear- 
ing. In the agony of dissolution now invading that proud 
army, which for four years had wrested victory from every 
peril, in that blackness of utter darkness, he preserved the 
serene lucidity of his mind. He looked the stubborn facts 
calmly in the face, and when no military resource re- 
mained, when he recognised the impossibility of making 
another march or fighting another battle, he bowed his 
head in submission to that Power which makes and 
unmakes nations. The surrender of the fragments of the 
Army of Northern Virginia closed the imperishable record 
of his military life. . . ." 

From the London Standard, at the time of his last ill- 
ness, I quote these words relating to this retreat : 


"When the Army of Northern Virginia marched out of 
the lines around Petersburg and Richmond, it still num- 
bered some twenty-six thousand men. After a retreat 
of six days, in the face of an overwhelming enemy, with a 
crushing artillery — a retreat impeded by constant fighting 
and harassed by countless hordes of cavalry — eight thou- 
sand were given up by the capitulation at Appomattox 
Court House. Brilliant as were General Lee's earlier 
triumphs, we believe that he gave higher proofs of genius 
in his last campaign, and that hardly any of his victories 
were so honourable to himself and his army as that of his 
six-days' retreat." 

Swinton, in his " History of the Army of the Potomac, " 
after justly praising its deeds, thus speaks of its great 
opponent, the Army of Northern Virginia: 

"Nor can there fail to arise the image of that other 
army that was the adversary of the Army of the Potomac, 
and — who that once looked upon it can ever forget it ? — 
that array of tattered uniforms and bright muskets — that 
body of incomparable infantry, the Army of Northern 
Virginia, which, for four years, carried the revolt on its 
bayonets, opposing a constant front to the mighty con- 
centration of power brought against it ; which, receiving 
terrible blows, did not fail to give the like, and which, 
vital in all its parts, died only with its annihilation." 

General Long, in speaking of its hardships and struggles 
during the retreat, thus describes how the army looked up 
to their commander and trusted him to bring them 
through all their troubles : 

"General Lee had never appeared more grandly heroic 
than on this occasion. All eyes were raised to him for a 
deliverance which no human power seemed able to give. 
He alone was expected to provide food for the starving 


army and rescue it from the attacks of a powerful and 
eager enemy. Under the accumulation of difficulties, his 
courage seemed to expand, and wherever he appeared his 
presence inspired the weak and weary with renewed 
energy to continue the toilsome march. During these 
trying scenes his countenance wore its habitual calm, 
grave expression. Those who watched his face to catch 
a glimpse of what was passing in his mind could gather 
thence no trace of his inner sentiments." 

No one can tell what he suffered. He did in all things 
what he considered right. Self he absolutely abandoned. 
As he said, so he believed, that "human virtue should 
equal human calamity." A day or two before the sur- 
render, he said to General Pendleton: 

". . . I have never believed we could, against the 
gigantic combination for our subjugation, make good in 
the long run our independence unless foreign powers 
should, directly or indirectly, assist us. . . . But such 
considerations really made with me no difference. We 
had, I was satisfied, sacred principles to maintain and 
rights to defend, for which we were in duty bound to do 
our best, even if we perished in the endeavour." 

After his last attempt was made with Gordon and Fitz 
Lee to break through the lines of the enemy in the early 
morning of the 9th, and Colonel Venable informed him 
that it was not possible, he said : 

"Then there is nothing left me but to go and see Gen- 
eral Grant." When some one near him, hearing this, 

" Oh, General, what will history say of the surrender of 
the army in the field?" he replied: 

" Yes, I know they will say hard things of us ; they will 
not understand how we were overwhelmed by numbers; 


but that is not the question, Colonel ; the question is, is it 
right to surrender this army? If it is right, then I will 
take all the responsibility." 

There had been some correspondence with Grant, just 
before the conversation with General Pendleton. After 
Gordon's attack failed, a flag of truce was sent out, and, 
about eleven o'clock, General Lee went to meet General 
Grant. The terms of surrender were agreed upon, and 
then General Lee called attention to the pressing needs 
of his men. He said : 

" I have a thousand or more of your men and officers, 
whom we have required to march along with us for several 
days. I shall be glad to send them to your lines as soon 
as it can be arranged, for I have no provisions for them. 
My own men have been living for the last few days prin- 
cipally upon parched corn, and we are badly in need of 
both rations and forage." 

Grant said he would at once send him 25,000 rations. 
General Lee told him that amount would be ample and 
would be a great relief. He then rode back to his troops. 
The rations issued then to our army were the supplies 
destined for us but captured at Amelia Court House. 
Had they reached us in time, they would have given the 
half-starved troops that were left strength enough to 
make a further struggle. General Long graphically pic- 
tures the last scenes: 

"It is impossible to describe the anguish of the troops 
when it was known that the surrender of the army was 
inevitable. Of all their trials, this was the greatest and 
hardest to endure. There was no consciousness of shame ; 
each heart could boast with honest pride that its duty had 
been done to the end, and that still unsullied remained its 
honour. When, after his interview with General Grant, 


General Lee again appeared, a shout of welcome instinc- 
tively went up from the army. But instantly recollecting 
the sad occasion that brought him before them, their 
shouts sank into silence, every hat was raised, and the 
bronzed faces of thousands of grim warriors were bathed 
in tears. As he rode slowly along the lines, hundreds of 
his devoted veterans pressed around the noble chief, trying 
to take his hand, touch his person, or even lay their hands 
upon his horse, thus exhibiting for him their great affec- 
tion. The General then with head bare, and tears flowing 
freely down his manly cheeks, bade adieu to the army." 

In a few words: "Men, we have fought through the 
war together ; I have done my best for you ; my heart is 
too full to say more," he bade them good-bye and told 
them to return to their homes and become good citizens. 
The next day he issued his farewell address, the last order 
published to the army: 

" Headquarters, Army of Northern Virginia, 

April 10, 1865. 
"After four years' of arduous service, marked by unsur- 
passed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Vir- 
ginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming num- 
bers and resources. I need not tell the survivors of so 
many hard-fought battles, who have remained steadfast 
to the last, that I have consented to this result from no 
distrust of them; but, feeling that valour and devotion 
could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the 
loss that would have attended the continuation of the 
contest, I have determined to avoid the useless sacrifice 
of those whose past services have endeared them to their 
countrymen. By the terms of the agreement, officers 
and men can return to their homes and remain there 
until exchanged. You will take with you the satisfaction 
that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully 
performed; and I earnestly pray that a merciful God 
will extend to you His blessing and protection. With an 


increasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to 
your country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind 
and generous consideration of myself, I bid you an affec- 
tionate farewell. 

"R. E. Lee, General." 

General Long says that General Meade called on Gen- 
eral Lee on the 10th, and in the course of conversation 
remarked : 

" Now that the war may be considered over, I hope you 
will not deem it improper for me to ask, for my personal 
information, the strength of your army during the opera- 
tions about Richmond and Petersburg." General Lee 
replied : 

"At no time did my force exceed 35,000 men; often it 
was less." With a look of surprise, Meade answered: 

" General, you amaze me; we always estimated your 
force at about seventy thousand men." 

General de Chanal, a French officer, who was present, 
states that General Lee, who had been an associate of 
Meade's in the engineers in the "old army," said to him 
pleasantly : 

"Meade, years are telling on you; your hair is getting 
quite gray." 

"Ah, General Lee," was Meade's prompt reply, "it is 
not the work of years; you are responsible for my gray 

"Three days after the surrender," says Long, "the 
Army of Northern Virginia had dispersed in every direc- 
tion, and three weeks later the veterans of a hundred 
battles had exchanged the musket and the sword for the 
implements of husbandry. It is worthy of remark that 
never before was there an army disbanded with less dis- 
order. Thousands of soldiers were set adrift on the world 


without a penny in their pockets to enable them to reach 
their homes. Yet none of the scenes of riot that often 
follow the disbanding of armies marked their course." 

A day or two after the surrender, General Lee started 
for Richmond, riding Traveller, who had carried him so 
well all through the war. He was accompanied by some 
of his staff. On the way, he stopped at the house of his 
eldest brother, Charles Carter Lee, who lived on the 
Upper James in Powhatan County. He spent the even- 
ing in talking with his brother, but when bedtime came, 
though begged by his host to take the room and bed pre- 
pared for him, he insisted on going to his old tent, pitched 
by the roadside, and passed the night in the quarters 
that he was accustomed to. On April 1 5th he arrived in 
Richmond. The people there soon recognised him ; men, 
women, and children crowded around him, cheering and 
waving hats and handkerchiefs. It was more like the 
welcome to a conqueror than to a defeated prisoner on 
parole. He raised his hat in response to their greetings, 
and rode quietly to his home on Franklin Street, where 
my mother and sisters were anxiously awaiting him. 
Thus he returned to that private family life for which he 
had always longed, and became what he always desired 
to be — a peaceful citizen in a peaceful land. 

In attempting to describe these last days of the Army 
of Northern Virginia, I have quoted largely from Long, 
Jones, Taylor, and Fitz Lee, all of whom have given more 
or less full accounts of the movements of both armies. 

It so happened that shortly after we left our lines, April 
2d or 3d, in one of the innumerable contests, my horse 
was shot, and in getting him and myself off the field, 
having no choice of routes, the pursuing Federal cavalry 
intervened between me and the rest of our command, so 


I had to make my way around the head of Sheridan's 
advance squadrons before I could rejoin our forces. 
This I did not succeed in accomplishing until April 9th, 
the day of the surrender, for my wounded horse had to be 
left with a farmer, who kindly gave me one of his own in 
exchange, saying I could send him back when I was able, 
or, if I was prevented, that I could keep him and he would 
replace him with mine when he got well. 

As I was riding toward Appomattox on the 9th, I met 
a body of our cavalry with General T. H. Rosser at the 
head. He told me that General Lee and his army had 
surrendered, and that this force had made its way out, 
and was marching back to Lynchburg, expecting thence 
to reach General Johnston's army. To say that I was 
surprised does not express my feelings. I had never 
heard the word "surrender" mentioned, nor even sug- 
gested, in connection with our general or our army. I 
could not believe it, and did not until I was positively 
assured by all my friends who were with Rosser's column 
that it was absolutely so. Very sadly I turned back and 
went to Lynchburg along with them. There I found 
some wagons from our headquarters which had been sent 
back, and with them the horses and servants of the staff. 
These I got together, not believing for an instant that 
our struggle was over, and, with several officers from 
our command and others, we made our way to Greens- 
boro, North Carolina. There I found Mr. Davis and his 
cabinet and representatives of the Confederate depart- 
ments from Richmond. There was a great diversity of 
opinion amongst all present as to what we should do. 
After waiting a couple of days, looking over the situation 
from every point of view, consulting with my uncle, 
Commodore S. S. Lee, of the Confederate Navy, and with 


many others, old friends of my father and staunch adher- 
ents of the Southern cause, it was determined to go back 
to Virginia to get our paroles, go home, and go to work. 

While at Greensboro I went to see President Davis, 
just before he proceeded on his way farther south. He 
was calm and dignified, and, in his conversation with 
several officers of rank who were there, seemed to think, 
and so expressed himself, that our cause was not lost, 
though sorely stricken, and that we could rally our 
forces west of the Mississippi and make good our fight. 
While I was in the room, Mr. Davis received the first 
official communication from General Lee of his surrender. 
Colonel John Taylor Wood, his aide-de-camp, had taken 
me in to see the President, and he and I were standing 
by him when the despatch from General Lee was brought 
to him. After reading it, he handed it without comment 
to us ; then, turning away, he silently wept bitter tears. 
He seemed quite broken at the moment by this tangible 
evidence of the loss of his army and the misfortune of 
its general. All of us, respecting his great grief, silently 
withdrew, leaving him with Colonel Wood. I never 
saw him again. 

I started for Richmond, accompanied by several com- 
panions, with the servants and horses belonging to our 
headquarters. These I had brought down with me from 
Lynchburg, where I had found them after the surrender. 
After two weeks of marching and resting, I arrived in 
Richmond and found my father there, in the house on 
Franklin Street, now the rooms of the "Virginia Histori- 
cal Society," and also my mother, brother, and sisters. 
They were all much relieved at my reappearance. 

As well as I can recall my father at this time, he 
appeared to be very well physically, though he looked 


older, grayer, more quiet and reserved. He seemed very 
tired, and was always glad to talk of any other subject 
than that of the war or anything pertaining thereto. 
We all tried to cheer and help him. And the people of 
Richmond and of the entire South were as kind and 
considerate as it was possible to be. Indeed, I think 
their great kindness tired him. He appreciated it all, 
was courteous, grateful, and polite, but he had been under 
such a terrible strain for several years that he needed the 
time and quiet to get back his strength of heart and mind. 
All sorts and conditions of people came to see him : officers 
and soldiers from both armies, statesmen, politicians, 
ministers of the Gospel, mothers and wives to ask about 
husbands and sons of whom they had heard nothing. 
To keep him from being overtaxed by this incessant 
stream of visitors, we formed a sort of guard of the young 
men in the house, some of whom took it by turns to keep 
the door and, if possible, turn strangers away. My 
father was gentle, kind, and polite to all, and never 
willingly, so far as I know, refused to see any one. 

Dan Lee, late of the Confederate States Navy, my 
first cousin, and myself, one day had charge of the front 
door, when at it appeared a Federal soldier, accompanied 
by a darkey carrying a large willow basket filled to the 
brim with provisions of every kind. The man was Irish 
all over, and showed by his uniform and carriage that 
he was a " regular, " and not a volunteer. On our asking 
him what he wanted, he replied that he wanted to see 
General Lee, that he had heard down the street the General 
and his family were suffering for lack of something to 
eat, that he had been with "the Colonel" when he com- 
manded the Second Cavalry, and, as long as he had a 
cent, his old colonel should not suffer. My father, who 


had stepped into another room as he heard the bell ring, 
hearing something of the conversation, came out into 
the hall. The old Irishman, as soon as he saw him, drew 
himself up and saluted, and repeated to the General, 
with tears streaming down his cheeks, what he had just 
said to us. My father was very much touched, thanked 
him heartily for his kindness and generosity, but told 
him that he did not need the things he had brought and 
could not take them. This seemed to disappoint the 
old soldier greatly, and he pleaded so hard to be allowed 
to present the supplies to his old colonel, whom he believed 
to be in want of them, that at last my father said that he 
would accept the basket and send it to the hospital, for 
the sick and wounded, who were really in great need. 
Though he was not satisfied, he submitted to this com- 
promise, and then to our surprise and dismay, in bidding 
the General good-bye, threw his arms around him and 
was attempting to kiss him, when "Dan" and I inter- 
fered. As he was leaving, he said: 

"Good-bye, Colonel! God bless ye! If I could have 
got over in time I would have been with ye ! " 

A day or two after that, when " Dan" was doorkeeper, 
three Federal officers, a colonel, a major, and a doctor, 
called and asked to see General Lee. They were shown 
into the parlour, presented their cards, and said they 
desired to pay their respects as officers of the United 
States Army. When Dan went out with the three cards, 
he was told by some one that my father was up stairs 
engaged with some other visitor, so he returned and told 
them this and they departed. When my father came 
down, was shown the cards and told of the three visitors, 
he was quite put out at Dan's not having brought him 
the cards at the time, and that afternoon mounted him on 


one of his horses and sent him over to Manchester, where 
they were camped, to look up the three officers and to 
tell them he would be glad to see them at any time they 
might be pleased to call. However, Dan failed to find 

He had another visit at this time which affected him 
deeply. Two Confederate soldiers in very dilapidated 
clothing, worn and emaciated in body, came to see him. 
They said they had been selected from about sixty other 
fellows, too ragged to come themselves, to offer him a 
home in the mountains of Virginia. The home was a 
good house and farm, and near by was a defile, in some 
rugged hills, from which they could defy the entire Fed- 
eral Army. They made this offer of a home and their 
protection because there was a report that he was 
about to be indicted for treason. The General had to 
decline to go with them, but the tears came into his eyes 
at this hearty exhibition of loyalty. 

After being in Richmond a few days, and by the advice 
of my father getting my parole from the United States 
Provost Marshal there, the question as to what I should 
do came up. My father told me that I could go back to 
college if I desired and prepare myself for some profes- 
sion — that he had a little money which he would be 
willing and glad to devote to the completion of my 
education. I think he was strongly in favour of my 
going back to college. At the same time he told me 
that, if I preferred it, I could take possession of my farm 
land in King William County, which I had inherited 
from my grandfather, Mr. Custis, and make my home 
there. As there was little left of the farm but the land, 
he thought he could arrange to help me build a house 
and purchase stock and machinery. 


My brother, General W. H. F. Lee, had already gone 
down to his place, "The White House" in New Kent 
County, with Major John Lee, our first cousin, had erected 
a shanty, and gone to work, breaking up land for a corn 
crop, putting their cavalry horses to the plow. As I 
thought my father had use for any means he might have 
in caring for my mother and sisters, and as I had this 
property, I determined to become a farmer. However, 
I did not decide positively, and in the meantime it was 
thought best that I should join my brother and cousin at 
the White House and help them make their crop of corn. 
In returning to Richmond, I had left at "Hickory Hill," 
General Wickham's place in Hanover County, our horses 
and servants, taken with me from Lynchburg to Greens- 
boro and back. So bidding all my friends and family 
good-bye, I went by rail to "Hickory Hill" and started 
the next day with three servants and about eight horses 
for New Kent, stopping the first night at "Pampatike." 
The next day I reached the White House, where the 
reinforcements I brought with me were hailed with 

Though I have been a farmer from that day to this, I 
will say that the crop of corn which we planted that 
summer, with ourselves and army servants as laborers 
and our old cavalry horses as teams, and which we did 
not finish planting until the 9th of June, was the best I 
ever made. 

A Private Citizen 








My father remained quietly in Richmond with my 
mother and sisters. He was now a private citizen for 
the first time in his life. As he had always been a good 
soldier, so now he became a good citizen. My father's 
advice to all his old officers and men was to submit to 
the authority of the land and to stay at home, now that 
their native States needed them more than ever. His 
advice and example had great influence with all. In a 
letter to Colonel Walter Taylor,* he speaks on this point : 

" . . . I am sorry to hear that our returned soldiers 
cannot obtain employment. Tell them they must all 
set to work, and if they cannot do what they prefer, 
do what they can. Virginia wants all their aid, all their 
support, and the presence of all her sons to sustain and 
recuperate her. They must therefore put themselves in 
a position to take part in her government, and not be 
deterred by obstacles in their way. There is much to 
be done which they only can. do. . . ." 

* His old A. A. G. 



And in a letter, a month later, to an officer asking his 
opinion about a decree of the Emperor of Mexico en- 
couraging the emigration from the South to that country : 

". . . I do not know how far their emigration to 
another land will conduce to their prosperity. Although 
prospects may not now be cheering, ' I have entertained 
the opinion that, unless prevented by circumstances or 
necessity, it would be better for them and the country 
if they remained at their homes and shared the fate of 
their respective States. . . ." 

Again, in a letter to Governor Letcher*: 

". . . The duty of its citizens, then, appears to 
me too plain to admit of doubt. All should unite in 
honest efforts to obliterate the effects- of the war and to 
restore the blessings of peace. They should remain, if 
possible, in the country; promote harmony and good 
feeling, qualify themselves to vote and elect to the State 
and general legislatures wise and patriotic men, who 
will devote their abilities, to the interests of the country 
and the healing of all dissensions. I have invariably 
recommended this course since the cessation of hostilities, 
and have endeavoured to practise it myself. . . ." 

Also in a letter of still later date, to Captain Josiah 
Tatnall, of the Confederate States Navy, he thus em- 
phasises the same sentiment: 

"'. . . I believe it to be the duty of every one to 
unite in the restoration of the country and the re- 
establishment of peace and harmony. These consider- 
ations governed me in the counsels I gave to others, and 
induced me on the 13th of June to make application 
to be included in the terms of the amnesty proclama- 
tion. . . ." 

* The "War Governor" of Virginia. 


These letters and many more show plainly his concep- 
tion of what was right for all to do at this time. I have 
heard him repeatedly give similar advice to relatives 
and friends and to strangers who sought it. The follow- 
ing letters to General Grant and to President Johnson 
show how he gave to the people of the South an example 
of quiet submission to the government of the country : 

"Richmond, Virginia, June 13, 1865. 
" Lieutenant-General U. S. Grant, Commanding the 
"Armies of the United States. 
"General: Upon reading the President's proclamation 
of the 29th ult., I came to Richmond to ascertain what 
was proper or required of me to do, when I learned 
that, with others, I was to be indicted for treason by 
the grand jury at Norfolk. I had supposed that the 
officers and men of the Army of Northern Virginia were, 
by the terms of their surrender, protected by the United 
States Government from molestation so long as they 
conformed to its conditions. I am ready to meet any 
charges that may be preferred against me, and do not 
wish to avoid trial ; but, if I am correct as to the protection 
granted by my parole, and am not to be prosecuted, I 
desire to comply with the provisions of the President's 
proclamation, and, therefore, inclose the required applica- 
tion, which I request, in that event, may be acted on. I 
am, with great respect, 

"Your obedient servant, R. E. Lee." 

"Richmond, Virginia, June 13, 1865. 
"His Excellency Andrew Johnson, 
"President of the United States. 
"Sir: Being excluded from the provisions of the 
amnesty and pardon contained in the proclamation of 
the 29th ult., I hereby apply for the benefits and full 
restoration of all rights and privileges extended to those 
included in its terms. I graduated at the Military 


Academy at West Point in June, 1829 ; resigned from the 
United States Army, April, 1861 ; was a general in the 
Confederate Army, and included in the surrender of the 
Army of Northern Virginia, April 9, 1865. I have the 
honour to be, very respectfully, 

"Your obedient servant, R. E. Lee." 

Of this latter letter, my brother, Custis Lee, writes 

"When General Lee requested me to make a copy of 
this letter, he remarked it was but right for him to set an 
example of making formal submission to the civil author- 
ities, and that he thought, by so doing, he might possibly 
be in a better position to be of use to the Confederates 
who were not protected by military paroles, especially 
Mr. Davis." 

Colonel Charles Marshall * says : 

" . . . He (General Lee) set to work to use his great 
influence to reconcile the people of the South to the 
hard consequences of their defeat, to inspire them with 
hope, to lead them to accept, freely and frankly, the 
government that had been established by the result of 
the war, and thus relieve them from the military rule. 
. . . The advice and example of General Lee did more 
to incline the scale in favour of a frank and manly 
adoption of that course of conduct which tended to the 
restoration of peace and harmony than all the Federal 
garrisons in all the military districts." 

My father was at this time anxious to secure for himself 
and family a house somewhere in the country. He had 
always had a desire to be the owner of a small farm, 
where he could end his days in peace and quiet. The 
life in Richmond was not suited to him. He wanted 
*A grandson of Chief Justice Marshall, and Lee's military secretary. 


quiet and rest, but could not get it there, for people were 
too attentive to him. So in the first days of June he 
mounted old Traveller and, unattended, rode down to 
"Pampatike" — some twenty -five miles — to pay a visit 
of several days to his relations there. This is an old 
Carter property, belonging then and now to Colonel 
Thomas H. Carter, who, but lately returned from Appo- 
mattox Court House, was living there with his wife and 
children. Colonel Carter, whose father was a first cousin 
of General Lee's, entered the Army of Northern Virginia 
in the spring of 1861, as captain of the "King William 
Battery," rose grade by grade by his skill and gallantry, 
and surrendered in the spring of 1865, as Colonel and 
Chief of Artillery of his corps at that time. He was 
highly esteemed and much beloved by my father, and 
our families had been intimate for a long time. 

" Pampatike" is a large, old-fashioned plantation, 
lying along the Pamunkey River, between the Piping 
Tree and New Castle ferries. Part of the house is very 
old, and, from time to time, as more rooms were needed, 
additions have been made, giving the whole a very 
quaint and picturesque appearance. At the old-fashioned 
dinner hour of three o'clock, my father, mounted on 
Traveller, unannounced, unexpected, and alone, rode up 
to the door. The horse and rider were at once recognised 
by Colonel Carter, and he was gladly welcomed by his 
kinsfolk. I am sure the days passed here were the 
happiest he had spent for many years. He was very 
weary of town, of the incessant unrest incident to his 
position, of the crowds of persons of all sorts and con- 
ditions striving to see him; so one can imagine the joy 
of master and horse when, after a hot ride of over twenty 
miles, they reached this quiet resting-place. My father, 


Colonel Carter tells me, enjoyed every moment of his 
stay. There were three children in the house, the two 
youngest little girls of five and three years old. These 
were his special delight, and he followed them around, 
talking baby-talk to them and getting them to talk to 
him. Every morning before he was up they went into 
his room, at his special request, to pay him a visit. 
Another great pleasure w T as to watch Traveller enjoy 
himself. He had him turned out on the lawn, where the 
June grass was very fine, abundant, and at its prime, and 
would allow no corn to be fed to him, saying he had had 
plenty of that during the last four years, and that the 
grass and the liberty were what he needed. He talked 
to Colonel Carter much about Mexico, its people and 
climate; also about the old families living in that neigh- 
bourhood and elsewhere in the State, with whom both 
Colonel Carter and himself were connected; but he said 
very little about the recent war, and only in answer to 
some direct question. 

About six miles from "Pampatike," on the same river 
and close to its banks, is "Chericoke," another old 
Virginia homestead, which had belonged to the Braxtons 
for generations, and, at that time, was the home of 
Corbin Braxton's widow. General Lee was invited to 
dine there, and to meet him my brother, cousin and I, 
from the White House, were asked, besides General 
Rosser, who was staying in the neighbourhood, and 
several others. This old Virginia house had long been 
noted for its lavish hospitality and bountiful table. Mrs. 
Braxton had never realised that the war should make 
any change in this respect, and her table was still spread 
in those days of desolation as it had been before the war, 
when there was plenty in the land. So we sat down to 


a repast composed of all the good things for which that 
country was famous. John and I did not seem to think 
there was too much in sight — at any rate, it did not 
daunt us, and we did our best to lessen the quantity, con- 
suming, I think, our share and more ! We had been for 
so many years in the habit of being hungry that it was 
not strange we continued to be so awhile yet. But my 
father took a different view of the abundance displayed, 
and, during his drive back, said to Colonel Carter: 

"Thomas, there was enough dinner to-day for twenty 
people. All this will now have to be changed ; you can- 
not afford it ; we shall have to practise economy." 

In talking with Colonel Carter about the situation of 
farmers at that time in the South, and of their prospects 
for the future, he urged him to get rid of the negroes left on 
the farm — some ninety-odd in number, principally women 
and children, with a few old men — saying the government 
would provide for them, and advised him to secure white 
labour. The Colonel told him he had to use, for immediate 
needs, such force as he had, being unable at that time 
to get the whites. Wereupon General Lee remarked: 

" I have always observed that wherever you find the 
negro, everything is going down around him, and wherever 
you find the white man, you see everything around him 

He was thinking strongly of taking a house in the 
country for himself and family, and asked the Colonel 
whether he could not suggest some part of the State that 
might suit him. Colonel Carter mentioned Clarke County 
as representing the natural -grass section of Virginia, and 
Gloucester County the salt-water. My father unhesitat- 
ingly pronounced in favour of the grass-growing country. 
He told Mrs. Carter how pleased he was to hear that she 


had received her husband in tears when he returned from 
the surrender, as showing the true spirit, for, though glad 
to see him, she wept because he could fight no more for 
the cause. The day after this dinner he had to turn his 
back on these dear friends and their sweet home. 

When Traveller was brought up to the door for him to 
mount, he walked all around him, looking carefully at 
the horse, saddle, and bridle. Apparently the blanket 
was not arranged to suit him, for he held the bridle while 
"Uncle Henry" took off the saddle. Then he took off 
the blanket himself, spread it out on the grass, and, 
folding it to suit his own ideas of fitness, carefully placed 
it on Traveller's back, and superintended closely the 
putting on and girthing of the saddle. This being done, 
he bade everybody good-bye, and, mounting his horse, 
rode away homeward — to Richmond. After crossing the 
Pamunkey at Newcastle ferry, he rode into "Ingleside," 
about a mile from the river, the lovely home of Mrs. 
Mary Braxton. Here he dismounted and paid his 
respects to the mistress of the house and her daughters, 
who were also cousins. That afternoon he reached 
Richmond, returning by the same road he had travelled 
coming out. After this visit, which he had enjoyed so 
much, he began looking about more than ever to find a 
country home. 

The house he was occupying in Richmond belonged to 
Mr. John Stewart, of " Brook Hill," who was noted for his 
devotion to the cause of the South and his kindness to 
all those who had suffered in the conflict. My brother 
Custis had rented it at the time he was appointed on 
Mr. Davis's staff. A mess had been established there by 
my brother and several other officers on duty in Richmond. 
In time, my mother and sister had been made members 


of it, and it had been the headquarters of all of the 
family during the war, when in town. My father was 
desirous of making some settlement with his landlord for 
its long use, but before he could take the final steps my 
mother received the following note from Mr. Stewart: 

" . . . I am not presuming on your good opinion, 
when I feel that you will believe me, first, that you and 
yours are heartily welcome to the house as long as your 
convenience leads you to stay in Richmond; and, next, 
that you owe me nothing, but, if you insist on paying, that 
the payment must be in Confederate currency, for which 
alone it was rented to your son. You do not know how 
much gratification it is, and will afford me and my whole 
family during the. remainder of our lives, to reflect that 
we have been brought into contact, and to know and to 
appreciate you and all that are dear to you." 

My father had been offered, since the surrender, houses, 
lands, and money, as well as positions as president of 
business associations and chartered corporations. 

"An English nobleman," Long says, "desired him to 
accept a mansion and an estate commensurate with his 
individual merits and the greatness of an historic family." 

He replied: " I am deeply grateful; I cannot desert my 
native State in the hour of her adversity. I must abide 
her fortunes, and share her fate." 

Until his death, he was constantly in receipt of such 
offers, all of which he thought proper to decline. He 
wrote to General Long : 

" I am looking for some little, quiet home in the woods, 
where I can procure shelter and my daily bread, if per- 
mitted by the victor. I wish to get Mrs. Lee out of the 
city as soon as practical." 


It so happened that nearly exactly what he was looking 
for was just then offered to him. Mrs. Elizabeth Ran- 
dolph Cocke, of Cumberland County, a granddaughter 
of Edmund Randolph, had on her estate a small cottage 
which, with the land attached, she placed at his disposal. 
The retired situation of this little home, and the cordial 
way in which Mrs. Cocke insisted on his coming, induced 
my father to accept her invitation. 

Captain Edmund Randolph Cocke * writes me the 
following : 

" Oakland, Virginia, October 25, 1896. 
"My mother, whose sympathies for everybody and 
everything connected with our cause were the greatest 
and most enlarged of any one I ever knew, thought it 
might be agreeable and acceptable to General Lee to 
have a retired place in which to rest. Having this little 
house unoccupied, she invited him to accept it as a home 
as long as he might find it pleasant to himself. The Gen- 
eral came up with your mother and sisters about the last 
of June, General Custis Lee having preceded them a day 
or two on Traveller. At that time our mode of travel 
was on the canal by horse -packet : leaving Richmond at 
a little before sunset, the boat reached Pemberton, our 
landing, about sunrise. General Custis and I went 
down to meet them, and we all reached home in time for 
breakfast. That night on the boat the Captain had had 
the most comfortable bed put up that he could com- 
mand, which was offered to your father. But he pre- 
ferred to sleep on deck, which he did, with his military 
cloak thrown over him. No doubt that was the last 
night he ever spent under the open sky. After a week 
spent here, General Lee removed, with his family, to 
"Derwent." There he spent several months of quiet 
and rest, only interrupted by the calls of those who 

*Mrs. Cocke's second son, who lived with his mother at Oakland. 


came in all honesty and sincerity to pay their respects 
to him. Old soldiers, citizens, men and women, all came 
without parade or ceremony. During this time he rode 
on Traveller daily, taking sometimes long trips — once, 
I recall, going to his brother's, Mr. Carter Lee's, about 
twenty miles, and at another time to Bremo, about 
thirty miles. During the month of August he was 
visited by Judge Brockenborough, of Lexington, who, as 
Rector of the Board of Trustees of Washington College, 
tendered him, on behalf of the Board, the presidency 
of the college. After considering the matter for several 
weeks, he decided to accept this position. 

" . . . During that summer he was a regular at- 
tendant at the various churches in our neighbourhood, 
whenever there was service. I never heard your father 
discuss public matters at all, nor did he express his 
opinion of public men. On one occasion, I did hear him 
condemn with great severity the Secretary of War, 
Stanton. This was at the time Mrs. Surratt was con- 
demned and executed. At another time I heard him 
speak harshly of General Hunter, who had written to 
him to get his approval of his movements, during the 
Valley Campaign, against General Early. With these 
exceptions, I never heard him speak of public men or 

In this connection I quote the Rev. J. Wm. Jones in 
his "Personal Reminiscences of General Robert E. Lee": 

"Not long after the close of the war, General Lee 
received a letter from General David Hunter, of the 
Federal Army, in which he begged information on two 
points : 

" i. His (Hunter's) campaign in the summer of 1864 
was undertaken on information received at the War 
Department in Washington that General Lee was about 
to detach forty thousand picked troops to send General 


Johnston. Did not his (Hunter's) movements prevent 
this, and relieve Sherman to that extent ? 

"2. When he (Hunter) found it necessary to retreat 
from before Lynchburg, did not he adopt the most 
feasible line of retreat? 

"General Lee wrote a very courteous reply, in 
which he said: 

"'The information upon which your campaign was 
undertaken was erroneous. I had no troops to spare 
General Johnston and no intention of sending him any — 
certainly not forty thousand, as that would have taken 
about all I had. 

" ' As to the second point — I would say that I am not 
advised as to the motives which induced you to adopt 
the line of retreat which you took, and am not, perhaps, 
competent to judge of the question, but I certainly ex- 
pected you to retreat by way of the Shenandoah Valley*, 
and was gratified at the time that you preferred the 
route through the mountains to the Ohio — leaving the 
valley open for General Early's advance into Maryland.' ' 

- Before leaving Richmond, my father wrote the following 
letter to Colonel Ordway, then Provost Marshal : 

"Richmond, Virginia, June 21, 1865. 
"Lt.-Col. Albert Ordway, 

"Provost Marshal, Department of Virginia. 
" Colonel: I propose establishing my family next week 
in Cumberland County, Virginia, near Cartersville, on 
the James River canal. On announcing my intention 
to General Patrick, when he was on duty in Richmond, 
he stated that no passport for the purpose was necessary. 
Should there have been any change in the orders of the 
Department rendering passports necessary, I request 
that I may be furnished with them. My son, G. W. 
Custis Lee, a paroled prisoner with myself, will accom- 
pany me. Very respectfully your obedient servant, 

"R. E. Lee." 

*The italics are Dr. Jones's. 


The latter part of June, my father, mother, brother 
Custis, and sisters went to "Derwent," the name of the 
little place which was to be his home for that summer. 
They went by canal-boat from Richmond to Carters ville, 
and then had a drive of about six miles. Mrs. Cocke 
lived at " Oakland," two miles away, and her generous 
heart was made glad by the opportunity of supplying 
my father and his family with every comfort that it was 
possible to get at that time. In his letters to me, still 
at the White House busy with our corn, he gives a 
description of his surroundings: 

" . . . We are all well, and established in a com- 
fortable but small house, in a grove of oaks, belonging 
to Mr. Thomas Cocke.* It contains four rooms, and 
there is a house in the yard which when fitted up will 
give us another. Only your mother, Agnes, and Mildred 
are with me. Custis, who has had a return of his at- 
tack . . . is at Mrs. Cocke's house, about two miles 
off — is convalescent, I hope. I have been nowhere as 
yet. The weather has been excessively hot, but this 
morning there is an agreeable change, with some rain. 
The country here is poor but healthy, and we are at a 
long distance from you all. I can do nothing until I 
learn what decision in my case is made in Washington. 
All unite with me in much love. 

"Very truly, your father, 

"R. E. Lee." 

The "case" referred to here was the indictment in 
June by a grand jury in Norfolk, Virginia, of Mr. Davis, 
General Lee, and others, for treason or something like it. 

The Hon. Reverdy Johnson offered his professional 
services to my father in this case, but there was no trial, 
as a letter from General Grant to the authorities in- 

* Mrs. Cocke's eldest son. 


sisted that the parole given by him to the officers and 
soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia should be 
respected. The following letter explains itself: 

"Near Cartersville, Virginia, July 27, 1865. 
"Hon. Reverdy Johnson, 
"Baltimore, Md. 
11 My Dear Sir: I very much regret that I did not see 
you on your recent visit to Richmond, that I might have 
thanked you for the interest you have shown in my 
behalf, and your great kindness in offering me your pro- 
fessional services in the indictment which I now under- 
stand is pending against me. I am very glad, however, 
that you had an opportunity of reading a copy of General 
Grant's letter of the 20th inst. to me, which I left with 
Mr. Macfarland for that purpose, and also that he might 
show it to other officers of the Army of Northern Virginia 
in my condition. I did not wish to give it greater pub- 
licity without the assent of General Grant, supposing 
that, if he desired it made public, he would take steps to 
have it done. Should he consent to your request to 
have it published, I, of course, have no objection. But 
should he not, I request that you only use it in the man- 
ner I have above indicated. Again offering you my 
warmest thanks for your sympathy and consideration 
for my welfare, I am, with great respect, 
"Your obedient servant, 

"R. E. Lee." 

In another letter to me he tells of his visit to his brother 
Charles Carter Lee, in Powhatan County, which was an 
easy ride from " Derwent." He was very fond of making 
these little excursions, and Traveller, that summer, was 
in constant use : 

"Near Cartersville, July 22, 1865. 
" My Dear Rob: I have just returned from a visit to 
your Uncle Carter, and, among my letters, find one from 


some of your comrades to you, which I inclose. I was 
happy to discover from the direction that it was intended 
for you and not for me. I find Agnes quite sick, and 
have sent for the doctor, as I do not know what to do for 
her. Poor little thing ! she seems quite prostrated. Custis, 
I am told, is better. He is still at Mrs. Cocke's. The 
rest of us are well. I saw several of your comrades, 
Cockes, Kennons and Gilliams, who inquired after you 
all. Give my love to F. and Johnny, in which all here 
unite, and believe me most truly and affectionately 

" Your father, R. E. Lee. 

"Robert E. Lee." 

In another letter he gives an account of a trip that he 
and Traveller had taken across the river into Albemarle 
County : 

"Near Cartersville, August 21, 1865. 
"My Dear Bertus: I received only a few days ago your 
letter of the 12th. I am very sorry to hear of your 
afflictions, but hope you have shaken off all of them. 
You must keep your eyes open, you precious boy, and 
not run against noxious vines and fevers. I have just 
returned from a visit to Fluvanna. I rode up the gray 
and extended my peregrinations into Albemarle, but no 
further than the Green Mountain neighbourhood. I made 
short rides, stopping every evening with some friend, 
and had a very pleasant time. I commended you to all 
the young ladies on the road, but did not know I was 
extolling a poisoned beau ! You must go up and see 
Miss Francis Gait. Tell Fitzhugh I wrote to him before 
I went away. I am glad to hear that your corn is so 
fine, and that you are making preparations to put in a 
good crop of wheat. I wish I had a little farm some- 
where, to be at work too. Custis is paying a visit to his 
friend, Captain Watkins, in Powhatan. He came up 
for him last Saturday, and bore him off. He has got 
quite well now, and I hope will continue so. Agnes is 


also again well, though still feeble and thin. Your 
mother, Life, and myself as usual. We have not heard 
for some time from daughter. A report has reached us 
of her being at Mr. Burwell's. Miss Mary Cocke and her 
brother John paid us a short visit from Saturday to 
Monday, and several of our neighbors have been over 
to spend the day. We have a quiet time, which is de- 
lightful to me, but I fear not so exhilarating to the girls. 
I missed Uncle Carter's visit. He and his Robert rode 
up on a pair of colts while I was in Fluvanna, and spent 
several days. I wish we were nearer you boys. I want 
to see you very much, but do not know when that can 
be. I hope Johnny is well. I have heard nothing from 
his father since we parted in Richmond, but hear that 
Fitz has gone to see his mother. All here send their best 
love to you, and I pray that every happiness may at- 
tend you. 

"Your devoted father, 

"R. E. Lee. 
"Robert E. Lee." 

- "Bertus" was a contraction of Robertus, my father's 
pet name for me as a child. My afflictions were " poison- 
oak," chills, and fever. The letter to my brother Fitz- 
hugh, here referred to, I also give : 

"Near Cartersville, Cumberland County, Virginia, 

"July 29, 1865. 
"My Dear Fitzhugh: I was very glad to receive, by 
the last packet from Richmond, your letter of the 2 2d. 
We had all been quite anxious to hear from you, and 
were much gratified to learn that you were all well, and 
doing well. It is very cheering to me to hear of your 
good prospects for corn and your cheerful prospects for 
the future. God grant they may be realised, which, I 
am sure, they will be, if you will unite sound judgment to 
your usual energy in your operations. As to the indict- 
ments, I hope you, at least, may not be prosecuted. I 


see no other reason for it than for prosecuting all who ever 
engaged in the war. I think, however, we may expect 
procrastination in measures of relief, denunciatory 
threats, etc. We must be patient, and let them take 
their course. As soon as I can ascertain their intention 
toward me, if not prevented, I shall endeavour to procure 
some humble, but quiet, abode for your mother and 
sisters, where I hope they can be happy. As I before 
said, I want to get in some grass country, where the 
natural product of the land will do much for my sub- 
sistence. . . . Our neighbours are very kind, and do 
everything in the world to promote our comfort. If 
Agnes is well enough, I propose to ride up to 'Bremo' 
next week. I wish I was near enough to see you. Give 
much love to Rob and Johnny, the Carters and Braxtons 
All here unite in love and best wishes for you all. 
" Most affectionately, your father, 

"R. E. Lee." 


President of Washington College 

patriotic motives for acceptance of trust — con- 
dition of college the general's arrival at 

lexington he prepares for the removal of 

his family to that city advice to robert, 

junior trip to "bremo" on private canal- 
boat mrs. lee's invalidism 

About this time my father received from the Board 
of Trustees of Washington College a notification of his 
election to the presidency of that institution, at a meeting 
of the board held in Lexington, Virginia, on August 4, 
1865. The letter apprising him of the action was pre- 
sented by Judge John W. Brockenbrough, rector of the 
college. This was a complete surprise to my father. He 
had already been offered the vice -chancellorship of the 
"University of the South," at Sewanee, Tennessee, but 
declined it on the ground that it was denominational, and 
to some suggestions that he should connect himself with 
the University of Virginia he objected because it was a 
State institution. 

Washington College had started as an academy in 
1749. It was the first classical school opened in the 
Valley of Virginia. After a struggle of many years, under 
a succession of principals and with several changes of site, it 
at length acquired such a reputation as to attract the 
attention of General Washington. He gave it a hancL- 



some endowment, and the institution changed its name 
from "Liberty Hall Academy" to Washington College. 
In the summer of 1865, the college, through the calamities 
of civil war, had reached the lowest point of depression 
it had ever known. Its buildings, library, and apparatus 
had suffered from the sack and plunder of hostile soldiery. 
Its invested funds, owing to the general impoverishment 
throughout the land, were for the time being rendered 
unproductive and their ultimate value was most uncertain. 
Four professors still remained on duty, and there were 
about forty students, mainly from the country around 
Lexington. It was not a State institution, nor confined 
to any one religious denomination, so two objections 
which might have been made by my father were 
removed. But the college in later years had only a local 
reputation. It was very poor, indifferently equipped 
with buildings, and with no means in sight to improve 
its condition. 

"There was a general expectation that he would 
decline the position as not sufficiently lucrative, if his 
purpose was to repair the ruins of his private fortune 
resulting from the war; as not lifting him conspicuously 
enough in the public gaze, if he was ambitious of office or 
further distinction ; or as involving too great labour and 
anxiety, if he coveted repose after the terrible contest 
from which he had just emerged." * 

He was very reluctant to accept this appointment, but 
for none of the above reasons, as the average man might 
have been. Why he was doubtful of undertaking the 
responsibilities of such a position his letter of acceptance 
clearly shows. He considered the matter carefully and 
then wrote the following letter to the committee : 

* Professor E. S. Joynes. 


" Powhatan County, August 24, 1865. 
"Gentlemen: I have delayed for some days replying 
to your letter of the 5th inst., informing me of my 
election by the board of trustees to the presidency of 
Washington College, from a desire to give the subject due 
consideration. Fully impressed with the responsibilities 
of the office, I have feared that I should be unable to 
discharge its duties to the satisfaction of the trustees or 
to the benefit of the country. The proper education of 
youth requires not only great ability, but I fear more 
strength than I now possess, for I do not feel able to 
undergo the labour of conducting classes in regular 
courses of instruction. I could not, therefore, undertake 
more than the general administration and supervision of 
the institution. There is another subject which has 
caused me serious reflection, and is, I think, worthy of 
the consideration of the board. Being excluded from 
the terms of amnesty in the proclamation of the President 
of the United States, of the 29th of May last, and an 
object of censure to a portion of the country, I have 
thought it probable that my occupation of the position of 
president might draw upon the college a feeling of hos- 
tility ; and I should, therefore, cause injury to an institu- 
tion which it would be my highest desire to advance. I 
think it the duty of every citizen, in the present condition 
of the country, to do all in his power to aid in the restora- 
tion of peace and harmony, and in no way to oppose the 
policy of the State or general government directed to 
that object. It is particularly incumbent on those 
charged with the instruction of the young to set them 
an example of submission to authority, and I could not 
consent to be the cause of animadversion upon the 
college. Should you, however, take a different view, and 
think that my services in the position tendered to me by 
the board will be advantageous to the college and country, 
I will yield to your judgment and accept it ; otherwise, I 
must most respectfully decline the office. Begging you 
to express to the trustees of the college my heartfelt 


gratitude for the honour conferred upon me, and request- 
ing you to accept my cordial thanks for the kind manner 
in which you have communicated their decision, I am, 
gentlemen, with great respect, your most obedient 
servant, R. E. Lee." 

To present a clearer view of some of the motives in- 
fluencing my father in accepting this trust — for such he 
considered it — I give an extract from an address on the 
occasion of his death, by Bishop Wilmer, of Louisiana, 
delivered at the University of the South, at Sewanee, 
Tennessee : 

"I was seated," says Bishop Wilmer, "at the close of 
the day, in my Virginia home, when I beheld, through 
the thickening shades of evening, a horseman entering 
the yard, whom I soon recognised as General Lee. The 
next morning he placed in my hands the correspondence 
with the authorities of Washington College at Lexington. 
He had been invited to become president of that institu- 
tion. I confess to a momentary feeling of chagrin at 
the proposed change (shall I say revulsion?) in his 
history. The institution was one of local interest, and 
comparatively unknown to our people. I named others 
more conspicuous which would welcome him with ardour 
as their presiding head. I soon discovered that his mind 
towered above these earthly distinctions; that, in his 
judgment, the cause gave dignity to the institution, and 
not the wealth of its endowment or the renown of its 
scholars; that this door and not another was opened to 
him by Providence, and he only wished to be assured of 
his competency to fulfil his trust and thus to make his 
few remaining years a comfort and blessing to his suffering 
country. I had spoken to his human feelings; he had 
now revealed himself to me as one 'whose life was hid 
with Christ in God. ' My speech was no longer restrained. 
I congratulated him that his heart was inclined to this 
great cause, and that he was spared to give to the world 


this august testimony to the importance of Christian 
education. How he listened to my feeble words ; how he 
beckoned me to his side, as the fulness of heart found 
utterance; how his whole countenance glowed with 
animation as I spoke of the Holy Ghost as the great 
Teacher, whose presence was required to make education 
a blessing, which otherwise might be the curse of mankind ; 
how feelingly he responded, how eloquently, as I never 
heard him speak before — can never be effaced from 
memory; and nothing more sacred mingles with my 
reminiscences of the dead," 

The board of trustees, on August 31st, adopted and 
sent to General Lee resolutions saying that, in spite of 
his objections, "his connection with the institution 
would greatly promote its prosperity and advance the 
general interest of education, and urged him to enter 
upon his duties as president at his earliest con- 
venience. " 

My father had had nearly four years' experience in 
the charge of young men at West Point. The conditions 
at that place, to be sure, were very different from those 
at the one to which he was now going, but the work 
in the main was the same — to train, improve and elevate. 
I think he was influenced, in making up his mind to 
accept this position, by the great need of education in 
his State and in the South, and by the opportunity that 
he saw at Washington College for starting almost from the 
beginning, and for helping, by his experience and example, 
the youth of his country to become good and useful 

In the latter part of September, he mounted Traveller 
and started alone for Lexington. He Was four days on 
the journey, stopping with some friend each night. He 
rode into Lexington on the afternoon of the fourth day, 


no one knowing of his coming until he quietly drew up 
and dismounted at the village inn. Professor White, who 
had just turned into the main street as the General 
halted in front of the hotel, said he knew in a moment 
that this stately rider on the iron-gray charger must be 
General Lee. He, therefore, at once went forward, as 
two or three old soldiers gathered around to help the 
General down, and insisted on taking him to the home of 
Colonel Reid, the professor's father-in-law, where he had 
already been invited to stay. My father, with his usual 
consideration for others, as it was late in the afternoon, 
had determined to remain at the hotel that night and go 
to Mr. Reid's in the morning; but yielding to Captain 
White's (he always called him " Captain," his Confederate 
title) assurances that all was ready for him, he accom- 
panied him to the home of his kind host. 

The next morning, before breakfast, he wrote the fol- 
lowing letter to my mother announcing his safe arrival. 
The "Captain Edmund" and "Mr. Preston" mentioned 
in it were the sons of our revered friend and benefactress, 
Mrs. E. R. Cocke. Colonel Preston and Captain Frank 
were her brother and nephew : 

"Lexington, September 19, 1865. 
"My Dear Mary: I reached here yesterday about 
one p.m., and on riding up to the hotel was met by 
Professor White, of Washington College, who brought me 
up to his father-in-law's, Colonel Reid, the oldest mem- 
ber of the trustees of the college, where I am very com- 
fortably quartered. To-day I will look out for accom- 
modations elsewhere, as the Colonel has a large family 
and I fear I am intruding upon his hospitality. I have 
not yet visited the college grounds. They seem to be 
beautifully located, and the buildings are undergoing 
repairs. The house assigned to the president, I am told, 


has been rented to Dr. Madison (I believe), who has not 
been able to procure another residence, and I do not 
know when it will be vacated, nor can I tell you more 
about it. I saw Mrs. Cocke yesterday afternoon, who looks 
remarkably well, and will return to the- Alum [Springs] 
to-morrow. Captain Edmund is with her and goes 
to-day to Kentucky. He and Mr. Preston are very well. 
The latter will accompany his mother to the Alum. I 
have not yet seen him. I saw Mrs. and Colonel Preston, 
Captain Frank, and his sister. All the family are well. 
I shall go after breakfast to inquire after my trunks. I 
had a very pleasant journey here. The first two days were 
very hot, but, reaching the mountain region the third 
day, the temperature was much cooler. I came up in 
four days' easy rides, getting to my stopping-place by 
one p.m. each day, except the third, when I slept on top 
of the Blue Ridge, which I reached at. three p.m. The 
scenery was beautiful all the way. I am writing before 
breakfast, and must be short. Last night I found a 
blanket and coverlid rather light covering, and this 
morning I see a fire in the dining-room. I have thought 
much of you all since I left. Give much love to the 
girls and Custis and remember me to all at 'Oakland.' 
"Most affectionately yours, R. E. Lee. 

"Mrs. R. E. Lee." 

When he first arrived, the family, very naturally, stood 
a little in awe of him. This feeling, however, was soon 
dispelled, for his simple and unaffected manners in a 
short while put them at ease. There were some little 
children in the house, and they and the General at once 
became great friends. With these kind and hospitable 
friends he stayed several days. After being present at a 
meeting of the board of trustees, he rode Traveller over 
to the Rockbridge Baths — eleven miles from Lexington — 
and from there writes to my mother, on September 


" . . . Am very glad to hear of Rob's arrival. I 
am sorry that I missed seeing the latter, but find it was 
necessary that I should have been present at the meeting 
of the board of trustees on the 20th. They adjourned 
on the eve of the 21st, and on the morning of the 2 2d I 
rode over here, where I found Annie and Miss Belle.* 

. . The babies t are well and sweet. I have taken 
the baths every day since my arrival, and like them very 
much. In fact, they are delightful, and I wish you were 
all here to enjoy them. . . . Annie and Belle go in 
two, and sometimes three, times a day. Yesterday I 
procured some horses and took them up to the top of 
Jump Mountain, where we had one of the most beautiful 
views I ever saw. To-day I could get but one horse, 
and Miss Belle and I rode up Hays Creek Valley, which 
possessed beauties of a different kind. I shall return to 
Lexington on the 29th. I perceive, as yet, no change in 
my rheumatic affection. . . . Tell Custis I am much 
obliged to him for his attention to my baggage. All 
the articles enumerated by him arrived safely at Colonel 
Reid's Thursday morning early. I also received the 
package of letters he sent. ... I hope he may 
receive the appointment at the V. M. I. Everyone 
interested has expressed a desire he should do so, and I 
am more desirous than all of them. If he comes by land, 
he will find the route I took very pleasant, and about 108 
miles, namely: 'Bremo' — Dr. Wilmer's — Waynesboro' 
— Greenville. He will find me at the Lexington Hotel. 

. . I wish you were all with me. I feel very solitary 
and miss you all dreadfully. Give much love to the 
girls and boys — kind remembrances to Mrs. P., Miss 
Louisa, and Mrs. Thos. Cocke. I have no news. Most 
affectionately, R. E. Lee. 

" P. S. — Annie and Belle send a great deal of love to 
all. R. E. L." 

* Mrs. Chapman Leigh and Miss Belle Harrison, of Brandon, both 
very dear friends and cousins of my father. 
t Mrs. Leigh's. 


These little excursions and the meeting with old friends 
and dear cousins were sources of real enjoyment and 
grateful rest. The pains of the past, the worries of the 
present, and the cares for the future were, for the time 
being, banished. My father earnestly desired a quiet, 
informal inauguration, and his wish was gratified. On 
October 2, 1865, in the presence of the trustees, professors 
and students, after solemn and appropriate prayer by the 
Rev. W. S. White, D.D., the oldest Christian minister 
in the town,* he took the oath of office as required by the 
laws of the college, and was thus legally inaugurated as 
its president. 

On October 3d he wrote my mother : 

" . . . I am glad to hear that Rob is improving, 
and hope you had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Dana.f 

. The college opened yesterday, and a fine set of 
youths, about fifty, made their appearance in a body. 
It is supposed that many more will be coming during 
the month. The scarcity of money everywhere embar- 
rasses all proceedings. General Smith informs me that 
the Military Institute will commence its exercises on the 
1 6th inst. ; and that Custis was unanimously elected to 
the chair of Civil Engineering. { I am living at the 
Lexington Hotel, and he must come there if he comes up. 

. The ladies have furnished me a very nice room 
in the college for my office ; new carpet from Baltimore, 
curtains, etc. They are always doing something kind. 

*The father of Professor (or " Captain ") White. 

| Our old pastor of Christ's Church, Alexandria, the trusted friend 
of my grandmother and mother, who had baptised all the children 
at Arlington. 

J The Virginia Military Institute, a State institution, modelled after 
the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, was located in Lexington, 
and its grounds adjoined those of Washington College. Since its 
foundation in 1839, up to this time, General F. H. Smith had been its 


. . . I came up September 30th from the Baths. 
Annie and Miss Belle still there and very well. They 
expect to be here on the 10th. . . . You tell me 
nothing of the girls. I hope Agnes is getting strong and 
fat. I wished for them both at the Baths. Annie and 
Belle were my only companions. I could not trespass 
upon them always. The scenery is beautiful here, but 
I fear it will be locked up in winter by the time you 
come. Nothing could be more beautiful than the 
mountains now. . . . 

"Most affectionately, R. E. Lee." 

In addition to his duties as college president, my 
father had to make all the arrangements for his new 
home. The house assigned him by the college was 
occupied by Dr. Madison, who was to move out as soon 
as he could. Carpenters, painters and glaziers had to be 
put to work to get it into condition; furniture, carpets, 
bedding to be provided, a cook procured, servants and 
provisions supplied. 

My mother was an invalid and absent, and as my 
sisters were with her, everything down to the minutest 
detail was done by my father's directions and under his 
superintendence. He had always been noted for his 
care and attention to little things, and that trait, apparent 
in him when a mere lad, practised all through his busy 
and eventful life, stood him in good stead now. The 
difficulties to be overcome were made greater by the 
scarcity and inaccessibility of supplies and workmen and 
the smallness of his means. In addition, he conducted 
a large correspondence, always answering every letter. 
To every member of his family he wrote continually, 
and was interested in all our pursuits, advising and 
helping us as no one else could have done. Some of his 
letters to my mother at this time show how he looked into 


every matter, great or small, which related to her comfort 
and welfare, and to the preparation of her new home. 
For example, on October 9th he writes : 

" . . . Life is indeed gliding away and I have 
nothing of good to show for mine that is past. I pray I 
may be spared to accomplish something for the benefit 
of mankind and the honour of God. ... I hope I 
may be able to get the house prepared for you in time 
to reach here before the cold weather. Dr. Madison has 
sent me word that he will vacate the house on the 16th 
inst., this day week. I will commence to make some 
outside repairs this week, so as to get at the inside next, 
and hope by the 1st of November it will be ready for you. 
There is no furniture belonging to the house, but we 
shall require but little to commence with. Mr. Green, of 
Alexandria, to whom I had written, says that his manu- 
facturing machinery, etc., has been so much injured that, 
although it has been returned to him, he cannot resume 
operations until next year, but that he will purchase 
for us anything we desire. I believe nothing is manu- 
factured in Richmond — everything comes from the North, 
and we might as well write to Baltimore at once for what 
we want. What do you think? I believe nothing of 
consequence is manufactured here. I will see this week 
what can be done. . . ." 

And again, a few days later, he writes : 

" . . . I hope you are all well, and as comfortable 
as can be. I am very anxious to get you all here, but 
have made little progress in accomplishing it so far. 
Dr. M. expects to vacate the house this week, but I fear 
it is not certain he can do so. . . . I engaged some 
carpenters last week to repair the roof, fences, stable, 
etc., but for want of material they could not make a 
commencement. There is no lumber here at hand. 
Everything has to be prepared. I have not been in the 


house yet, but I hear there is much to be done. We shall 
have to be patient. As soon as it is vacated, I will set 
to work. I think it will be more expeditious and 
cheaper to write to Renwick [of Baltimore] to send what 
articles of furniture will be required, and also to order 
some carpets from Baltimore. . . ." 

In a postscript, dated the 17th, he says: 

"The carpenters made a beginning on the house 
yesterday. I hope it may be vacated this week. I will 
prepare your room first. The rest of us can bivouac. 
Love to all. Most affectionately, R. E. Lee." 

On October 19th: 

". . . I have been over the house we are to occupy. 
It is in wretched condition. Mrs. M. has not yet vacated 
it, but I have some men at work, though this storm has 
interrupted their operations and I fear little will be done 
this week. I think I can make your room comfortable. 
The upstairs is very convenient and the rest of the house 
sufficiently so. I think you had better write at once 
to Brit * to send the curtains you speak of, and the 
carpets. It is better to use what we have than to buy 
others. Their use where originally intended f is very 
uncertain. They have been tossed about for four years, 
and may be lost or ruined. They can come by express to 
Lynchburg, and then up the canal, or by Richmond. 
The merchants say the former is the best way — much 
more expeditious and but little more expensive." 

Spending the summer on the Pamunkey at the White 
House, exposed all day in the fields to the sun, and at 

* The " Brit " mentioned here is Mrs. Britannia Kennon, of "Tudor 
Place," my mother's first cousin. She had saved for us a great many 
of tne household goods from Arlington, having gotten permission 
from the Federal authorities to do so, at the time it was occupied by 
their forces. 

t Arlington, to that beloved home my mother still hoped to return. 


night to the malaria from the river and marshes, I became 
by the last of September one continuous "chill," so it 
was decided that, as the corn was made, the fodder saved, 
the wheat land broken up, and hands not so greatly 
needed, I should get a furlough. Mounting my mare, 
I started on a visit to my mother and sisters, hoping that 
the change to the upper country would help me to get rid 
of the malaria. When I reached "Derwent" my father 
had gone to Lexington, but my mother and the rest 
were there to welcome me and dose me for my ailments. 
There was still some discussion among us all as to what 
was the best thing for me to do, and I wrote to my father, 
telling him of my preference for a farmer's life and my 
desire to work my own land. The following letter, 
which he wrote me in reply, is, like all I ever got from 
him, full of love, tenderness, and good, sensible advice : 

11 My Dear Son: I did not receive until yesterday your 
letter of the 8th inst. I regret very much having missed 
seeing you — still more to hear that you have been suffering 
from intermittent fever. I think the best thing you can 
do is to eradicate the disease from your system, and 
unless there is some necessity for your returning to the 
White House, you had better accompany your mother 
here. I have thought very earnestly as to your future. 
I do not know to what stage your education has been 
carried, or whether it would be advantageous for you to 
pursue it further. Of that you can judge. If you do, 
and will apply yourself so as to get the worth of your 
money, I can advance it to you for this year at least. If 
you do not, and wish to take possession of your farm, I 
can assist you a little in that. As matters now stand, 
you could raise money on your farm only by mortgaging 
it, which would put you in debt at the beginning of your 
life, and I fear in the end would swallow up all your 
property. As soon as I am restored to civil rights, if I 


ever am, I will settle up your grandfather's estate, and 
put you in possession of your share. The land may be 
responsible for some portion of his debts or legacies. If 
so, you will have to assume it. In the meantime, I 
think it would be better for you, if you determine to 
farm your land, to go down there as you propose and 
begin on a moderate scale. I can furnish you means to 
buy a team, wagon, implements, etc. What will it cost ? 
If you cannot wait to accompany your mother here, come 
up to see me and we can talk it over. You could come 
up in the packet and return again. If you do come, 
ask Agnes for my box of private papers I left with her, 
and bring it with you; but do not lose it for your life, or 
we are all ruined. Wrap it up with your clothes and 
put it in a carpet-bag or valise, so that you can keep it 
with you or within your sight, and do not call attention 
to it. I am glad to hear that Fitzhugh keeps so well, and 
that he is prospering in his farming operations. Give 
him a great deal of love for me. The first thing you must 
do is to get well. 

"Your affectionate father, 

"R. E. Lee." 

His letters to his daughters tell, in a playful way, 
much of his life, and are full of the quiet humour in 
which he so often indulged. We were still at " Derwent," 
awaiting the time when the house in Lexington should 
be ready. It had been decided that I should remain 
and accompany my mother and sisters to Lexington, 
and that some of us, or all, should go up the river to 
"Bremo," the beautiful seat of Dr. Charles Cocke, and 
pay a visit there before proceeding to Lexington. Here 
is a letter from my father to his daughter Mildred: 

"Lexington, October 29, 1865. 
"My Precious Life: Your nice letter gave me much 
pleasure and made me the more anxious to see you. I 


think you girls, after your mother is comfortable at 
'Bremo,' will have to come up and arrange the house 
for her reception. You know I am a poor hand and can 
do nothing without your advice. Your brother, too, 
is wild for the want of admonition. Col. Blair is now 
his 'fidus Achates,' and as he is almost as gray as your 
papa, and wears the same uniform, all gray, he is some- 
times taken for him by the young girls, who consider 
your brother the most attentive of sons, and giving good 
promise of making a desirable husband. He will find 
himself married some of these days before he knows it. 
You had better be near him. I hope you give attention 
to Robert. Miss Sallie will thaw some of the ice from his 
heart. Tell her she must come up here, as I want to see 
her badly. I do not know what you will do with your 
chickens, unless you take them to 'Bremo,' and thus 
bring them here. I suppose Robert would not eat 'Laura 
Chilton' and 'Don Ella McKay.' Still less would he 
devour his sister 'Mildred.'* I have scarcely gotten 
acquainted with the young ladies. They look very nice 
in the walks, but I rarely get near them. Traveller is 
my only companion; I may also say my pleasure. He 
and I, whenever practicable, wander out in the moun- 
tains and enjoy sweet confidence. The boys are pluck- 
ing out his tail, and he is presenting the appearance of 
a plucked chicken. Two of the belles of the neighbourhood 
have recently been married — Miss Mattie Jordan to Dr. 
Cameron, and Miss Rose Cameron to Dr. Sherod. The 
former couple go to Louisburg, West Virginia, and start 
to-morrow on horseback, the bride's trousseau in a bag- 
gage wagon ; the latter to Winchester. Miss Sherod, one 
of the bridesmaids, said she knew you there. I did not 
attend the weddings, but have seen the pairs of doves. 
Both of the brides are remarkable in this county of 
equestrianism for their good riding and beauty. With 
true affection, Your fond father, 

"R. E. Lee." 

* These were the names of some of my sister's pet chickens. 


To his daughter Agnes, about the same time, he 
writes : 

"Lexington, Virginia, October 26, 1865. 
"My Dear Agnes: I will begin the correspondence of 
the day by thanking you for your letter of the 9th. It 
will, I am sure, be to me intellectually what my morning's 
feast is corporeally. It will strengthen me for the day, 
and smoothe the rough points which constantly protrude 
in my epistles. I am glad Robert is with you. It will 
be a great comfort to him, and I hope, in addition, will 
dissipate his chills. He can also accompany you in your 
walks and rides and be that silent sympathy (for he is 
a man of few words) which is so soothing. Though 
marble to women, he is so only externally, and you will 
find him warm and cheering. Tell him I want him to go 
to see Miss Francis Gait (I think her smile will awake 
some sweet music in him) , and be careful to take precau- 
tions against the return of the chills, on the 7th, 14th 
and 2 1 st days. ... I want very much to have you 
all with me again, and miss you dreadfully. I hope 
another month will accomplish it. In the meantime, 
you must get very well. This is a beautiful spot by 
nature — man has done but little for it. Love to all. 
Most affectionately, 

"Your father, 

"R. E. Lee." 

About the first week of November we all went by 
canal -boat to "Bremo," some twenty-five miles up the 
James River, where we remained the guests of Doctor 
and Mrs. Charles Cocke until we went to Lexington. My 
sister Agnes, while there, was invited to Richmond to 
assist at the wedding of a very dear friend, Miss Sally 
Warwick. She wrote to my father asking his advice 
and approval, and received this reply, so characteristic 
of his playful, humorous mood: 


"Lexington, Virginia, November 16, 1865. 

"My Precious Little Agnes: I have just received your 
letter of the 13th and hasten to reply. It is very hard 
for you to apply to me to advise you to go away from me. 
You know how much I want to see you, and how im- 
portant you are to me. But in order to help you to make 
up your mind, if it will promote your pleasure and Sally's 
happiness, I will say go. You may inform Sally from 
me, however, that no preparations are necessary, and if 
they were no one could help her. She has just got to 
wade through it as if it was an attack of measles or any- 
thing else — naturally. As she would not marry Custis, 
she may marry whom she chooses. I shall wish her 
every happiness, just the same, for she knows nobody 
loves her as much as I do. I do not think, upon reflec- 
tion, she will consider it right to refuse my son and take 
away my daughter. She need not tell me whom she is 
going to marry. I suppose it is some cross old widower, 
with a dozen children. She will not be satisfied at her 
sacrifice with less, and I should think that would be 
cross sufficient. I hope 'Life' is not going to desert 
us too, and when are we to see you? ... I have 
received your mother's letter announcing her arrival at 
1 Bremo.' . . . Tell your mother, however, to come 
when she chooses and when most to her comfort and 
convenience. She can come to the hotel where I am, 
and stay until the house is ready. There is no difficulty 
in that, and she can be very comfortable. My rooms 
are up on the 3d floor and her meals can be sent to her. 
Tell Rob the chills will soon leave him now. Mrs. Cocke 
will cure him. Give much love to your mamma, Mildred, 
Rob, and all at 'Bremo.' 

" Your affectionate father, 

"R. E. Lee. 

"Miss Agnes Lee." 

Colonel Ellis, President of the James River and Kanawha 
Canal Company, placed at my mother's disposal his 


private boat, which enabled her to reach "Bremo" with 
great ease and comfort, and when she was ready to go 
to Lexington the same boat was again given her, It 
was well fitted up with sleeping accommodations, carried 
a cook, and had a dining-room. It corresponded to the 
private car of the present railroad magnate, and, though 
not so sumptuous, was more roomy and comfortable. 
When provisions became scarce we purchased fresh 
supplies from any farm-house near the canal-bank, tied 
up at night, and made about four miles an hour during 
the day. It was slow but sure, and no mode of travel, 
even at the present day, could have suited my mother 
better. She was a great invalid from rheumatism, and 
had to be lifted whenever she moved. When put in 
her wheel-chair, she could propel herself on a level floor, 
or could move about her room very slowly and with 
great difficulty on her crutches, but she was always 
bright, sunny -tempered, and uncomplaining, constantly 
occupied with her books, letters, knitting, and painting, 
for the last of which she had great talent. 

On November 20th my father writes to her from Lex- 
ington : 

" I was very glad to hear, by your letter of the nth, of 
your safe arrival at ' Bremo.' I feel very grateful to Col. 
Ellis for his thoughtful consideration in sending you in his 
boat, as you made the journey in so much more comfort. 
It is indeed sad to be removed from our kind friends at 
* Oakland,' who seemed never to tire of contributing to 
our convenience and pleasure, and who even continue 
their kindness at this distance. Just as the room which 
I had selected for you was finished, I received the accom- 
panying note from Mrs. Cocke, to which I responded 
and thanked her in your name, placing the room at her 
disposal. The paint is hardly dry yet, but will be ready 


this week, to repeive the furniture if completed. I 
know no more about it than is contained in her note. 
I was also informed, last night, that a very handsome 
piano had been set up in the house, brought from Balti- 
more by the maker as a present from his firm or some 
friends. I have not seen it or the maker. This is an 
article of furniture that we might well dispense with under 
present circumstances, though I am equally obliged to 
those whose generosity prompted its bestowal. Tell 
Mildred I shall now insist on her resuming her music, 
and, in addition to her other labours, she must practise 
seven hours a day on the piano, until she becomes suffi- 
ciently proficient to play agreeably to herself and others, 
and promptly and gracefully, whenever invited. I think 
we should enjoy all the amenities of life that are within 
our reach, and which have been provided for us by our 
Heavenly Father. ... I am sorry Rob has a return 
of his chills, but he will soon lose them now. Ask Miss 
Mary to disperse them. She is very active and energetic ; 
they cannot stand before her. ... I hope Agnes has 
received my letter, and that she has made up her mind 
to come up to her papa. Tell her there are plenty of 
weddings here, if she likes those things. There is to be 
one Tuesday — Miss Mamie Williamson to Captain Eoff. 
Beverley Turner is to be married the same night, to Miss 
Rose Skinker, and sweet Margaret will also leave us. If 
they go at three a night, there will soon be none of our 
acquaintances left. I told Agnes to tell you to come 
up whenever most convenient to you. If the house is 
habitable I will take you there. If not, will bring you 
to the hotel. ... I wish I could take advantage 
of this fine weather to perform the journey. . . ." 


The Idol of the South 

photographs and autographs in demand — the gen- 
eral^ interest in young people — his happy home 

life — labours at washington college he gains 

financial aid for it — worsley's translation of 
homer dedicated to him — tributes from other 
english scholars 

The people of Virginia and of the entire South were 
continually giving evidence of their intense love for 
General Lee. From all nations, even from the Northern 
States, came to him marks of admiration and respect. 
Just at this time he received many applications for his 
photograph with autograph attached. I believe there 
were none of the little things in life so irksome to him as 
having his picture taken in any way, but, when able to 
comply, he could not refuse to do what was asked of him 
by those who were willing and anxious to do so much 
for him. 

In the following letter the photographs referred to 
had been sent to him for his signature, from a supply that 
my mother generally kept on hand. She was often 
asked for them by those who very considerately desired 
to save my father the trouble: 

" Lexington, November 21, 1865. 
" My Dear Mary: I have just received your letter of 
the 1 7th, and return the photographs with my signatures. 



I wrote to you by the boat of yesterday morning. I also 
sent you a packet of letters by Captain Wilkinson,* 
which also ought to have reached you to-day. I have 
nothing to add to my former letters, and only write now 
that you may receive the photos before you leave. I 
answered Agnes' letter immediately, and inclosed her 
several letters. I was in hopes she had made up her 
mind to eschew weddings and stick to her papa. I do 
not think she can help little Sallie. Besides, she will not 
take the oath — how can she get married ? The wedding 
party from this place go down in the boat to-night to 
Lynchburg — Miss Williamson and Captain Eoff. They 
are to be married in church at eight p. m. and embark at 
eleven. I wish them a pleasant passage and am glad I 
am not of the party. The scenery along the river will 
no doubt be cheering and agreeable. I think the repairs 
of the house will be completed this week ; should the 
furniture arrive, it will be habitable next. The weather 
is still beautiful, which is in our favour. I am glad 
Caroline is so promising. I have engaged no servant here 
yet, nor have I found one to my liking. We can get 
some of some kind, and do better when we can. I have 
heard nothing of the wedding at 'Belmead,' and do not 
think Preston will go. Mrs. Cocke is very well, but the 
furniture she intends for your room is not yet completed. 
It will be more comfortable and agreeable to you to go 
at once to the house on your arrival. But if there is 
anything to make it more desirable for you to come before 
the house is ready, you must come to the hotel. If we 
could only get comfortable weather in December, it 
would be better not to go into the house until it is dry, 
the paint hard, etc. It will require all this week to get 
the wood done; then it must be scoured, etc., and the 
furniture properly arranged. Tell Rob he will soon be 
well. He must cheer up and come and see his papa. 
Give my love to Mrs. Cocke, Miss Mary, etc., etc. Tell 
Agnes, if she thinks Sallie is in extremis, to go to her. I 

^Commander of the canal packet. 


do not want her to pass away, but it is a great disap- 
pointment to me not to have her with me. I am getting 
very old and infirm now, and she had better come to her 
papa and take care of him. 

"Most affectionately yours, R. E. Lee. 
"Mrs. M. C. Lee." 

My father was always greatly interested in the love 
affairs of his relatives, friends, and acquaintances. His 
letters during the war show this in very many ways. 
One would suppose that the general commanding an 
army in active operations could not find the time even to 
think of such trifles, much less to write about them; but 
he knew of very many such affairs among his officers and 
even his men, and would on occasion refer to them before 
the parties themselves, very much to their surprise and 
discomfiture. Bishop Peterkin, of West Virginia, who 
served on the staff of General Pendleton, tells me of the 
following instances, in illustration of this characteristic: 

"It was in the winter of 1863-4, when we were 
camped near Orange Court House, that, meeting the 
General after I had come back from a short visit to 
Richmond, he asked after my father, and then said, ' Did 

you see Miss ? ' and I replied, ' No, sir ; I did not. ' 

Then again, 'Did you see Miss ?' and when I still 

replied 'No,' he added, with a smile, 'How exceedingly 
busy you must have been. ' 

"Again — at the cavalry review at Brandy Station, on 
June 8, 1863 — we had galloped all around the lines, when 
the General took his post for the 'march past,' and all 
the staff in attendance grouped themselves about him. 
There being no special orders about our positions, I got 
pretty near the General. I noticed that several times he 
turned and looked toward an ambulance near us, filled 


with young girls. At last, after regiments and brigades 
had gone by, the Horse Artillery came up. The General 
turned and, finding me near him, said, ' Go and tell that 
young lady with the blue ribbon in her hat that such- 
and-such a battery is coming. ' 

" I rode up and saluted the young lady. There was 
great surprise shown by the entire party, as I was not 
known to any of them, and when I came out with my 
message there was a universal shout, while the General 
looked on with a merry twinkle in his eye. It was 
evidently the following up on his part of some joke which 
he had with the young lady about an officer in this 
battery. ' ' 

My mother had arranged to start for Lexington on 
November 28th, via the canal, but for some reason was 
prevented on that day. In his next letter, my father, 
who was most anxious that she should make the journey 
before the bad weather set in, expresses his disappoint- 
ment at not finding her on the packet on the expected 

" Lexington, Virginia, November 30, 1865. 
11 My Dear Mary: I am much disappointed that you 
did not arrive on the boat last night, and as you had 
determined when you wrote Saturday, the 25th, to take 
the boat as it passed Tuesday, I fear you were prevented 
either by the indisposition of yourself or of Robert's. I 
shall, however, hope that it was owing to some less dis- 
tressing cause. Our room is all ready and looks 
remarkably nice. Mrs. Cocke, in her great kindness, 
seems to have provided everything for it that you require, 
and you will have nothing to do but to take possession. 
The ladies have also arranged the other rooms as far as 
the furniture will allow. They have put down the 
carpets in the parlour, dining-room, and two chambers 


upstairs, and have put furniture in one room. They 
have also put up the curtains in the rooms downstairs, 
and put a table and chairs in the dining-room. We have, 
therefore, everything which is required for living, as 
soon as the crockery, etc., arrives from 'Derwent,' of 
which as yet I have heard nothing. Neither has the 
furniture from Baltimore arrived, and the season is so 
far advanced that we may be deprived of that all winter. 
But with what we now have, if we can get that from 
' Derwent, ' we shall do very well. There is some report 
of the packets between this place and Lynchburg being 
withdrawn from the line, which renders me more uneasy 
about your journey up. This is a bright and beautiful 
morning, and there is no indication of a change of weather, 
but the season is very uncertain, and snow and ice may 
be upon us any day. I think you had better come now 
the first opportunity. Do not take the boat which passes 
* Bremo ' Saturday. It reaches Lynchburg Sunday morn- 
ing, arriving here Monday night. You would in that case 
have to lie at the wharf at Lynchburg all day Sunday. 
I have heard of Agnes' arrival in Richmond, and shall 
be happy to have 'Precious Life' write me again. I 
have engaged a man for the balance of the year, who 
professes to know everything. He can at least make up 
fires, and go on errands, and attend to the yard and 
stable. I have heard nothing of Jimmy. Give my 
kind regards to all at ' Bremo. ' Custis is well and went 
to the boat to meet you this morning. The boat stops 
one and one-quarter miles from town. Remain aboard 
until we come. 

" Most affectionately yours, R. E. Lee. 

"Pi S. — Since writing the foregoing I have received 
your letter of the 28th. I shall expect you Saturday 
morning. R. E. L. 

"Mrs. M. C. Lee." 

At this time the packet-boat from Lynchburg to 
Lexington, via the James River and Kanawha Canal, was 


the easiest way of reaching Lexington from the outside 
world. It was indeed the only way, except by stage 
from Goshen, twenty-one miles distant, a station of the 
Chesapeake & Ohio R. R. The canal ran from Lynch- 
burg to Richmond, and just after the war did a large 
business. The boats were very uncertain in their 
schedules, and my father was therefore very particular in 
his directions to my mother, to insure her as far as he 
could a comfortable journey.* 

We did get off ajt last, and after a very comfortable 
trip arrived at Lexington on the morning of December 
2d. My father, on Traveller, was there to meet us, 
and, putting us all in a carriage, escorted us to our new 
home. On arriving, we found awaiting us a delicious 
breakfast sent by Mrs. Nelson, the wife of Professor 
Nelson. The house was in good order — thanks to the 
ladies of Lexington — but rather bare of furniture, except 
my mother's rooms. Mrs. Cocke had completely furnished 
them, and her loving thoughtfulness had not forgotten 
the smallest detail. Mrs. Margaret J. Preston, the 
talented and well-known poetess, had drawn the designs 
for the furniture, and a one-armed Confederate soldier 
had made it all. A handsomely carved grand piano, 
presented by Stieff, the famous maker of Baltimore, 
stood alone in the parlour. The floors were covered with 
the carpets rescued from Arlington — much too large and 
folded under to suit the reduced size of the rooms. Some 
of the bedrooms were partially furnished, and the dining- 
room had enough in it to make us very comfortable. We 
were all very grateful and happy — glad to get home — the 
only one we had had for four long years. 

* My father was not aware, when he wrote such explicit directions 
about the route, that Colonel Ellis had again put his boat at my 
mother's service. 


My father appeared bright and even gay. He was 
happy in seeing us all, and in knowing that my mother 
was comfortably established near to him. He showed 
us over the house, and pointed with evident satisfaction 
to the goodly array of pickles, preserves, and brandy- 
peaches which our kind neighbours had placed in the 
store-room. Indeed, for days and weeks afterward 
supplies came pouring in to my mother from the people 
in the town and country, even from the poor mountaineers, 
who, anxious to "do something to help General Lee," 
brought in hand-bags of walnuts, potatoes, and game. 
Such kindness — delicate and considerate always — as 
was shown to my father's family by the people, both of 
the town and the country around, not only then but to 
this day, has never been surpassed in any community. 
It was a tribute of love and sympathy from honest and 
tender hearts to the man who had done all that he could 
for them. 

My father was much interested in all the arrangements 
of the house, even to the least thing. He would laugh 
merrily over the difficulties that appalled the rest of us. 
Our servants were few and unskilled, but his patience 
and self-control never failed. The silver of the family 
had been sent to Lexington for safe -keeping early in the 
war. When General Hunter raided the Valley of Virginia 
and advanced upon Lexington, to remove temptation 
out of his way, this silver, in two large chests, had been 
intrusted to the care of the old and faithful sergeant at 
the Virginia Military Institute, and he had buried it in 
some safe place known only to himself. I was sent out 
with him to dig it up and bring it in. We found it safe 
and sound, but black with mould and damp, useless for 
the time being, so my father opened his camp-chest and 


we used his forks, spoons, plates, etc., while his camp- 
stools supplied the deficiency in seats. He often teased 
my sisters about their experiments in cookery and 
household arts, encouraging them to renewed efforts 
after lamentable failures. When they succeeded in a 
dish for the table, or completed any garment with their 
own hands, he was lavish with his praise. He would say : 

" You are all very helpless ; I don't know what you will 
do when I am gone," and 

" If you want to be missed by your friends — be useful." 

He at once set to work to improve all around him, laid 
out a vegetable garden, planted roses and shrubs, set 
out fruit and yard trees, made new walks and repaired 
the stables, so that in a short time we were quite com- 
fortable and very happy. He at last had a home of his 
own, with his wife and daughters around him, and 
though it was not the little farm in the quiet country 
for which he had so longed, it was very near to it, and it 
gave rest to himself and those he loved most dearly. 

His duties as president of Washington College were 
far from light. His time was fully occupied, and his 
new position did not relieve him from responsibility, care 
and anxiety. He took pains to become acquainted with 
each student personally, to be really his guide and friend. 
Their success gratified and pleased him, and their failures, 
in any degree, pained and grieved him. He felt that he 
was responsible for their well-doing and progress, and 
he worked very hard to make them good students and 
useful men. 

The grounds and buildings of the college soon began 
to show his care, attention, and good taste. In all his 
life, wherever he happened to be, he immediately set to 
work to better his surroundings. The sites selected for 


his headquarter camps during the war, if occupied for 
more than a day, showed his tasteful touch. When 
superintendent at West Point, the improvements sug- 
gested and planned by him were going on for the three 
years he remained there. Very soon after he assumed 
charge of Arlington, the place showed, in its improved 
condition, the effects of his energetic industry. The 
college at Lexington was a splendid field for the exercise 
of his abilities in this line. The neighbouring Virginia 
Military Institute soon followed the example he had set, 
and after a year the municipal authorities of Lexington 
were aroused to the necessity of bettering their streets 
and sidewalks, and its inhabitants realised the need of 
improving and beautifying their homes. He managed a 
very large correspondence, answering every letter when 
possible, the greater proportion with his own hand. To 
the members of his own family who were away he wrote 
regularly, and was their best correspondent on home 
matters, telling in his charming way all the sayings and 
doings of the household and the neighbours. 

My sister Agnes had gone to the wedding of Miss 
Warwick direct from "Bremo, " and was in Richmond 
when my father sent her two of the first letters he wrote 
after the arrival of my mother in Lexington: 

"Lexington, Virginia, December 5, 1865. 
"My Worrying Little Agnes: Your letter of the 1st 
received to-night. I have autographed the photographs 
and send a gross of the latter and a lock of hair. Present 
my love to the recipients and thank them for their 
favours. Sally is going to marry a widower. I think I 
ought to know, as she refused my son, and I do not wish 
to know his name. I wonder if she knows how many 
children he has. Tell Mr. Warwick I am sorry for him. 
I do not know what he will do without his sweet daughter. 


Nor do I know what I will do without her, either. Your 
mother has written — Mildred, too — and I presume has 
told you all domestic news. Custis is promenading the 
floor, Rob reading the papers, and Mildred packing her 
dress. Your mamma is up to her eyes in news, and I am 
crabbed as usual. I miss you very much and hope this 
is the last wedding you will attend. Good-bye. Love 
to everybody. 

"Your affectionate father, R. E. Lee. 

"Miss Agnes Lee." 

The other is dated nearly a month later, and from this 
it appears that the wedding so often referred to is about 
to take place: 

"Lexington, Virginia, January 3, 1866. 
"My Precious Little Agnes: I sat down to give my 
dear little Sally — for she is dear to me in the broadest, 
highest sense of the word — the benefit of Jeremy Taylor's 
opinion on hasty marriages. But, on reflection, I fear 
it would be words lost, for your mother says her ex- 
perience has taught her that when a young woman makes 
up her mind to get married, you might as well let her 
alone. You must, therefore, just thank her for the 
pretty inkstand, and say that I'll need no reminder of her, 
but I do not know when I shall make up my mind to 
stain it with ink. I was very glad to receive your letter 
of the 26th, and to think that you were mindful of us. I 
know you do not wish to be away, though you are striving 
to get as far away as possible. When you reach Norfolk, 
you will be so convenient to New York, whence steamers 
depart almost daily for Europe. Let us know when you 
sail. But I do not write to restrain your movements, 
though you know how solitary I am without you. I 
inclose . . . which, with what I gave Mildred, I 
hope will answer your purpose. Send me or bring me the 
photographs I asked for. I like them of the last edition ; 
they seem to take with the little school-girls, and I have 


nothing else to give them. I hope you will have a safe 
and pleasant trip. Tell Mr. Warwick I shall sorrow with 
him to-night — though I believe Mrs. Lee is right. Re- 
member me to all friends, and believe me, 

"Your devoted father, R. E. Lee. 

"Miss Agnes Lee." 

The latter part of January my father was sent by the 
board of trustees to Richmond to confer with the 
Committee on Education of the Virginia Legislature, 
then in session, as to some funds of the State held by 
Washington College. His mission was, I believe, suc- 
cessful, and great material aid was gained. He remained 
no longer than was absolutely necessary, and, returning 
to his duties at Lexington, encountered a severe snow- 
storm. The difficulties he had to overcome are described 
in the following letter to his daughter Agnes, whom he 
had met in Richmond, and who had gone from there to 
visit some friends in Norfolk: 

"Lexington, Virginia, January 29, 1866. 
"My Precious Little Agnes: I have received your 
letter of the 1 7th, transmitting the photographs, for which 
I am very much obliged. I returned the one for Miss 
Laura Lippett, whom I wish I could see once again. It 
would be more agreeable to me than any photograph. 
I had quite a successful journey up, notwithstanding the 
storm. The snow increased as we approached the 
mountains, and night had set in before we reached 
Staunton. The next morning, before sunrise, in spite 
of the predictions of the wise ones, I took passage on the 
single car which was attached to the locomotive, and 
arrived at Goshen about 10 a. m., where, after some little 
encouragement, the stage-driver attached his horses to 
the stage, and we started slowly through the mountains, 
breaking the track. On reaching the Baths, the North 
River was unfordable, but I was ferried across in a skiff, 


with all my bundles (I picked up two more in Staunton 
and one at Goshen) and packages, and took a stage de- 
tained on the opposite bank for Lexington, where I 
arrived in good time. I found all as well as usual, and 
disappointed at not seeing you with me, though I was 
not expected. I told them how anxious you were to come 
with me, and how you wanted to see them, but that you 
looked so wretchedly I could not encourage you. I 
hope you are now in Norfolk, and that the fish and 
oysters will fatten you and cure your feet ! . . . But 
get strong and keep well, and do not wear yourself out 
in the pursuit of pleasure. I hope you will soon join us, 
and that Lexington may prove to you a happy home. 
Your mother is a great sufferer, but is as quiet and un- 
complaining as ever. Mildred is active and cheerful, 
and Custis and I as silent as our wont. Major Campbell 
Brown is here on a visit. I am surprised to rind him such 
a talker. I am very sorry to find that Preston Cocke has 
been obliged to leave on account of his health. I have 
one comfort: my dear nephew will never injure himself 
by studying. Do not be alarmed about him. . . . 
Remember me to Colonel Taylor, all his mother's family, 
his wife, the Bakers, Seldens, etc. I know none of the 
latter but the Doctor, for whom I have always had a 
great esteem. Your mother, brother, and Mildred send 
their best love and kindest wishes. I am always, 

"Your devoted father, R. E. Lee. 

"Miss Agnes Lee." 

It was at Dr. Selden's house that my sister was visiting. 
He had been very kind in offering assistance to my father 
and mother. I remember well the supper given me and 
several of my comrades when we were coming back from 
the surrender, and while the Doctor and his family were 
refugees at Liberty, now Bedford City, Va. Stopping there 
one night, weary and hungry, while looking for quarters 
for man and beast, I got a note asking me and my friends 


to come to their house. An invitation of that kind was 
never refused in those days. We went and were treated 
as if we had been sons of the house, the young ladies them- 
selves waiting on us. In the morning, when we were 
about to start, they filled our haversacks with rations, and 
Mrs. Selden, taking me aside, offered me a handful of gold 
pieces, saying that she had more and that she could not 
bear to think of my father's son being without as long as 
she possessed any. 

The love and devotion shown my father by all the peo- 
ple of the South was deeply appreciated by him. He 
longed to help them, but was almost powerless. I think 
he felt that something could be done in that direction by 
teaching and training their youth, and I am sure this idea 
greatly influenced him in deciding to accept the presidency 
of Washington College. The advantages to the South of 
a proper education of her youth were very evident to him. 
He strongly urged it wherever and whenever he could. 
In a letter written at this time to the Reverend G. W. Ley- 
burn, he speaks very forcibly on the subject : 

" So greatly have those interests [educational] been dis- 
turbed at the South, and so much does its future condition 
depend upon the rising generation, that I consider the 
proper education of its youth one of the most important 
objects now to be attained, and one from which the great- 
est benefits may be expected. Nothing will compensate 
us for the depression of the standard of our moral and 
intellectual culture, and each State should take the most 
energetic measures to revive the schools and colleges, and, 
if possible, to increase the facilities for instruction, and to 
elevate the standard of learning. . . ." 

Again, in a letter to General John B. Gordon, written 
December, 1867, he says: 


" The thorough education of all classes of the people is 
the most efficacious means, in my opinion, of promoting 
the prosperity of the South. The material interests of 
its citizens, as well as their moral and intellectual culture, 
depend upon its accomplishment. The text-books of 
our schools, therefore, should not only be clear, systematic, 
and scientific, but they should be acceptable to parents 
and pupils in order to enlist the minds of all in the sub- 

In a letter to a friend in Baltimore he is equally earnest : 

" I agree with you fully as to the importance of a more 
practical course of instruction in our schools and colleges, 
which, calling forth the genius and energies of our people, 
will tend to develop the resources and promote the inter- 
ests of the country. ' ' 

In many other letters at this time and later on, espe- 
cially in one to Professor Minor, who had been appointed 
with him upon a board by the Educational Society of 
Virginia, did he urge the importance of education for the 
present and future safety, welfare, and prosperity of the 
country. Among the many tokens of respect and admira- 
tion, love, and sympathy which my father received from 
all over the world, there was one that touched him deeply. 
It was a " Translation of Homer's Iliad by Philip Stan- 
hope Worsley, Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, 
England," which the talented young poet and author sent 
him, through the General's nephew, Mr. Edward Lee 
Childe, of Paris, a special friend of Mr. Worsley. I copy 
the latter 's letter to Mr. Childe, as it shows some of the 
motives influencing him in the dedication of his work : 

" My Dear Friend: You will allow me, in dedicating this 
work to you, to offer it at the same time as a poor yet not 


altogether unmeaning tribute of my reverence for your 
brave and illustrious uncle, General Lee. He is the hero, 
like Hector in the Iliad, of the most glorious cause for 
which men can fight, and some of the grandest passages in 
the poem come to me with yet more affecting power when 
I remember his lofty character and undeserved mis- 
fortunes. The great names that your country has 
bequeathed from its four lurid years of national life as 
examples to mankind can never be forgotten, and among 
these none will be more honoured, while history endures, 
by all true hearts, than that of your noble relative. I need 
not say more, for I know you must be aware how much I 
feel the honour of associating my work, however indi- 
rectly, with one whose goodness and genius are alike so 
admirable. Accept this token of my deepest sympathy 
and regard, and believe me, 

" Ever most sincerely yours, 


On the fly-leaf of the volume he sent my father was 
written the following beautiful inscription: 

"To General Lee, 





' otos yap €pv€TO "/Aiov "EKTutp. ' 

Iliad vi — 403," 

and just beneath, by the same hand, the following beauti- 
ful verses : 

"The grand old bard that never dies, 
Receive him in our English tongue ! 
I send thee, but with weeping eyes, 
The story that he sung. 


"Thy Troy is fallen, — thy dear land 

Is marred beneath the spoiler's heel — 
I cannot trust my trembling hand 
To write the things I feel. 

"Ah, realm of tears ! — but let her bear 
This blazon to the end of time: 
No nation rose so white and fair, 
None fell so pure of crime. 

" The widow's moan, the orphan's wail, 

Come round thee ; but in truth be strong ! 
Eternal Right, though all else fail, 
Can never be made Wrong. 

"An angel's heart, an angel's mouth, 
Not Homer's, could alone for me 
Hymn well the great Confederate South — 
Virginia first, and Lee. 

"P. S. W." 

His letter of thanks, and the one which he wrote later, 
when he heard of the ill health of Mr. Worsley — both of 
which I give here — show very plainly how much he was 
pleased : 

"Lexington, Virginia, February 10, 1866. 
"Mr. P. S. Worsley. 

" My Dear Sir: I have received the copy of your transla- 
tion of the Iliad which you so kindly presented to me. Its 
perusal has been my evening's recreation, and I have 
never more enjoyed the beauty and grandeur of the poem 
than as recited by you. The translation is as truthful 
as powerful, and faithfully represents the imagery and 
rhythm of the bold original. The undeserved compli- 
ment in prose and verse, on the first leaves of the volume, 


I received as your tribute to the merit of my countrymen, 
who struggled for constitutional government. 
''With great respect, 

"Your obedient servant, 

"R. E. Lee." 

"Lexington, Virginia, March 14, 1866. 

" My Dear Mr. Worsley: In a letter just received from 
my nephew, Mr. Childe, I regret to learn that, at his last 
accounts from you, you were greatly indisposed. So 
great is my interest in your welfare that I cannot refrain, 
even at the risk of intruding upon your sickroom, from 
expressing my sincere sympathy in your affliction. I 
trust, however, that ere this you have recovered and are 
again in perfect health. Like many of your tastes and 
pursuits, I fear you may confine youself too closely to your 
reading. Less mental labour and more of the fresh air of 
Heaven might bring to you more comfort, and to your 
friends more enjoyment, even in the way in which you 
now delight them. Should a visit to this distracted coun- 
try promise you any recreation, I hope I need not assure 
you how happy I should be to see you at Lexington. I 
can give you a quiet room, and careful nursing, and a horse 
that would delight to carry you over our beautiful moun- 
tains. I hope my letter informing you of the pleasure I 
derived from the perusal of your translation of the Iliad, 
in which I endeavoured to express my thanks for the 
great compliment you paid me in its dedication, has 
informed you of my high appreciation of the work. 

"Wishing you every happiness in this world, and 
praying that eternal peace may be your portion in that to 
come, I am most truly, Your friend and servant, 

"R. E. Lee." 

That winter, my father was accustomed to read aloud in 
the long evenings to my mother and sisters "The Grand 
Old Bard," equally to his own and his listeners' enjoyment. 

Two or three years after this, Professor George Long, 


of England, a distinguished scholar, sent my father a copy 
of the second edition of his "Thoughts of the Emperor 
Marcus Aurelius." The first edition of this translation 
was pirated by a Northern publisher, who dedicated the 
book to Emerson. This made Long very indignant, and 
he immediately brought out a second edition with the 
following prefatory note: 

". . . I have never dedicated a book to any man, 
and if I dedicated this, I should choose the man whose 
name seemed to me most worthy to be joined to that of 
the Roman soldier and philosopher. I might dedicate 
the book to the successful general who is now President 
of the United States, with the hope that his integrity and 
justice will restore peace and happiness, so far as he can, 
to those unhappy States which have suffered so much 
from war and the unrelenting hostility of wicked men. 
But as the Roman poet says, 

" ' Victrix causa dels placuit, sed victa Catoni;\ 
"And if I dedicated this little book to any man, I would 
dedicate it to him who led the Confederate armies against 
the powerful invader, and retired from an unequal con- 
test defeated, but not dishonoured; to the noble Vir- 
ginian soldier whose talents and virtues place him by the 
side of the best and wisest man who sat on the throne of 
the imperial Cassars." 

These two nearly similar tributes came from the best- 
cultured thought of England, and the London Standard, 
speaking more for the nation at large, says: 

"A country which has given birth to men like him, and 
those who followed him, may look the chivalry of Europe 
in the face without shame; for the fatherlands of Sidney 
and Bayard never produced a nobler soldier, gentleman, ani. 
Christian than General Robert E. Lee." 


In a letter to his old friend, Mr. H. Tutweiler, of Vir- 
ginia, Professor Long sent the following message to my 
father, which, however, was never received by him, it 
having been sent to my mother only after his death: 

"I did not answer General Lee's letter [one of thanks 
for the book, sent by Professor Long through Mr. Tut- 
weiler], because I thought that he is probably troubled 
with many letters. If you should have occasion to write 
to him, I beg you will present to him my most respectful 
regards, and my hope that he will leave behind him some 
commentary to be placed on the same shelf with Caesar's. 
I am afraid he is too modest to do this. I shall always 
keep General Lee's letter, and will leave it to somebody 
who will cherish the remembrance of a great soldier and 
a good man. If I were not detained here by circum- 
stances, I would cross the Atlantic to see the first and 
noblest man of our days." 

Another noble English gentleman, who had shown 
great kindness to the South and who was a warm admirer 
of General Lee, was the Honourable A. W. Beresford 
Hope. He, I think, was at the head of a number of 
English gentlemen who presented the superb statue of 
"Stonewall" Jackson by Foley to the State of Virginia. 
It now stands in the Capitol Square at Richmond, and is 
a treasure of which the whole Commonwealth may justly 
be proud. Through Mr. Hope, my father received a hand- 
some copy of the Bible, and, in acknowledgment of Mr. 
Hope's letter, he wrote the following: 

"Lexington, Virginia, April 16, 1866. 
"Honourable A. W. Beresford Hope, 
"Bedgebury Park, 

"Kent, England 
" Sir: I have received within a few days your letter of 
November 14, 1865, and had hoped that by this time it 


would have been followed by the copy of the Holy Scrip- 
tures to which you refer, that I might have known the 
generous donors, whose names, you state, are inscribed on 
its pages. Its failure to reach me will, I fear, deprive me 
of that pleasure, and I must ask the favour of you to thank 
them most heartily for their kindness in providing me 
with a book in comparison with which all others in my 
eyes are of minor importance, and which in all my per- 
plexities has never failed to give me light and strength. 
Your assurance of the esteem in which I am held by a 
large portion of the British nation, as well as by those for 
whom you speak, is most grateful to my feelings, though 
I am aware that I am indebted to their generous natures, 
and not to my own merit, for their good opinion. I beg, 
sir, that you will accept my sincere thanks for the kind 
sentiments which you have expressed toward me, and 
my unfeigned admiration of your exalted character. I 
am, with great respect, 

" Your most obedient servant, 

"R. E. Lee." 


Lee's Opinion Upon the Late War 

his intention to write the history of his vir- 
ginia campaigns' — called before a committee of 

congress preaches patience and silence to 

the south shuns controversy and publicity 

correspondence with an englishman, herbert 
c. saunders 

My father had a strong desire at this time to write a 
history of his campaigns. I think, however, he gradually 
gave it up when he saw the great difficulties to be over- 
come and the labour required to produce anything 
worthy of the subject, especially as he began to realise 
that his strength was slowly failing — a fact which his 
letters indicate. Just after the cessation of hostilities, 
he had taken some preliminary steps toward acquiring 
the necessary material. In a circular letter which he 
sent out to a great many of his general officers, he wrote : 

"I am desirous that the bravery and devotion of the 
Army of Northern Virginia be correctly transmitted to 
posterity. This is the only tribute that can now be 
paid to the worth of its noble officers and soldiers, and I 
am anxious to collect the necessary information for the 
history of its campaigns, including the operations in the 
Valley and in Western Virginia, from its organisation to 
its final surrender. . . ." 

In a letter to the Honourable W. B. Reid, of Phila- 
delphia, he writes on the same subject : 



". . . I concur with you entirely as to the im- 
portance of a true history of the war, and it is my purpose, 
unless prevented, to write the history of the campaigns in 
Virginia. With this view, I have been engaged since the 
cessation of hostilities in endeavouring to procure the 
necessary official information. All my records, reports, 
returns, etc., etc., with the headquarters of the army, 
were needlessly destroyed by the clerks having them in 
charge on the retreat from Petersburg, and such as had 
been forwarded to the War Department in Richmond 
were either destroyed in the conflagration or captured at 
the South in the attempt to save them. I desire to 
obtain some vouchers in support of my memory, or I 
should otherwise have made some progress in the nar- 
rative. I have not even my letter- or order-books to 
which to refer. I have thought it possible that some of 
my official correspondence, which would be of value to 
me, might be found among the captured records in 
Washington, and that General Grant, who possesses 
magnanimity as well as ability, might cause me to be 
furnished with copies. I have, however, hesitated to 
approach him on the subject, as it is one in which he 
would naturally feel no interest." 

In a letter to General Early, written in November, 
1865, on the same subject, he says: 

" . . . I desire, if not prevented, to write a history 
of the campaigns in Virginia. . . . Your reports of 
your operations in '64 and '65 were among those de- 
stroyed. Can not you repeat them, and send me copies 
of such letters, orders, etc., of mine (including that last 
letter, to which you refer), and particularly give me your 
recollections of our effective strength at the principal 
battles? My only object is to transmit, if possible, the 
truth to posterity, and do justice to our brave 

Here is another letter to General Early, written March 


1 6th, containing references to the same subject, and to 
two letters of General Early which had been published 
in the papers. It is interesting, also, as showing his 
moderation in speaking of those who had misrepresented 
his words and acts : 

"My Dear General: I am very much obliged to you 
for the copies of my letters, forwarded with yours of 
January 25th. I hope you will be able to send me 
reports of the operations of your commands in the cam- 
paign, from the Wilderness to Richmond, at Lynchburg, 
in the Valley, Maryland, etc. ; all statistics as regards 
numbers, destruction of private property by the Federal 
troops, etc., I should like to have, as I wish my memory 
strengthened on these points. It will be difficult to get 
the world to understand the odds against which we 
fought, and the destruction or loss of all returns of the 
army embarrass me very much. I read your letter from 
Havana to the New York Times, and was pleased with the 
temper in which it was written. I have since received 
the paper containing it, published in the City of Mexico, 
and also your letter in reference to Mr. Davis. I under- 
stand and appreciate the motives which prompted both 
letters, and think they will be of service in the way you 
intended. I have been much pained to see the attempts 
made to cast odium upon Mr. Davis, but do not think they 
will be successful with the reflecting or informed portion 
of the country. The accusations against myself I have 
not thought proper to notice, or even to correct mis- 
representations of my words and acts. We shall have 
to be patient and suffer for awhile at least; and all con- 
troversy, I think, will only serve to prolong angry and 
bitter feeling, and postpone the period when reason and 
charity may resume their sway. At present, the public 
mind is not prepared to receive the truth. The feelings 
which influenced you to leave the country were natural, 
and, I presume, were uppermost in the breasts of many. 
It was a matter which each one had to decide for himself, 


as he only could know the reasons which governed him. 
I was particularly anxious on your account, as I had the 
same apprehensions to which you refer. I am truly 
glad that you are beyond the reach of annoyance, and 
hope you may be able to employ yourself profitably 
and usefully. Mexico is a beautiful country, fertile, of 
vast resources ; and, with a stable government and virtu- 
ous population, will rise to greatness. I do not think 
that your letters can be construed by your former asso- 
ciates as reflecting upon them, and I have never heard 
the least blame cast by those who have remained upon 
those who thought it best to leave the country. I think I 
stated in a former letter the reasons which governed me, 
and will not therefore repeat them. I hope, in time, 
peace will be restored to the country, and that the South 
may enjoy some measure of prosperity. I fear, however, 
much suffering is still in store for her, and that her people 
must be prepared to exercise fortitude and forbearance. 
I must beg you to present my kind regards to the gentle- 
men with you, and, with my best wishes for yourself and 
undiminished esteem, I am, 

' 'Most truly yours, 

"R. E. Lee." 

That his purpose had been heard of in the outside 
world is evident from this reply to a publisher in Cin- 
cinnati : 

"Near Cartersville, Virginia, August 26, 1865. 
"Mr. Joseph Topham, 
"Cincinnati, Ohio. 
"My Dear Sir: I have just received your letter of the 
17th inst., in reference to a history of the late war to be 
written by myself. I cannot, at present, undertake such 
a work, but am endeavouring to collect certain material 
to enable me to write a history of the campaigns in 
Virginia. Its completion is uncertain, and dependent 
upon so many contingencies that I think it useless to 


speak of arrangements for its publication at present. 
Thanking you for your kind proposition, I am, 
"Very respectfully yours, 

"R. E. Lee." 

There were a great many letters of this kind from 
Northern publishing houses, and his replies were all of 
the same character. His failure to carry out this much- 
cherished wish is greatly to be deplored. How much 
we and our children have missed, those who know his 
truth and honesty of purpose, his manliness, simplicity, 
and charity, can best tell. 

During the last days of February he was summoned 
to Washington to appear before a committee of Congress 
which was inquiring into the conditions of things in 
the Southern States, with a view to passing some of the 
so-called reconstruction measures. His testimony was 
simple, direct, and dignified, and is well worth reading by 
all who wish to hear the plain truth. It was his first ap- 
pearance in any city save Richmond since the war, and 
being at a time of such political excitement, his visit was 
an occasion of absorbing interest to the crowds then in 
the capital. 

When in Washington, Amanda, one of the house- 
servants at Arlington, called on him but failed to see 
him. In answer to a letter from her, my father replies 
as follows: 

"Lexington, Virginia, March 9, 1866. 
"Amanda Parks. 

" Amanda: I have received your letter of the 27th 
ult., and regret very much that I did not see you when I 
was in Washington. I heard on returning to my room, 
Sunday night, that you had been to see me; and I was 
sorry to have missed you, for I wished to learn how you 


were, and how all the people from Arlington were getting 
on in the world. My interest in them is as great now as 
it ever was, and I sincerely wish for their happiness and 
prosperity. At the period specified in Mr. Custis's will — 
five years from the time of his death — I caused the libera- 
tion of all the people at Arlington, as well as those at the 
White House and Romancoke, to be recorded in the 
Hustings Court at Richmond ; and letters of manumission 
to be given to those with whom I could communicate 
who desired them. In consequence of the war which 
then existed, I could do nothing more for them. I do 
not know why you should ask if I am angry with you. I 
am not aware of your having done anything to give me 
offense, and I hope you would not say or do what was 
wrong. While you lived at Arlington you behaved 
very well, and were attentive and faithful to your duties. 
I hope you will always conduct yourself in the same 
manner. Wishing you health, happiness, and success in 
life, I am truly, 

"R. E. Lee." 

Shortly after his return to Lexington, he writes to Mrs. 
Jefferson Davis. In this letter he expresses such noble 
sentiments, and is so moderate and sensible in his views 
of those who were harassing him and the South, that all 
who read it must profit thereby : 

"Lexington, Virginia, February 23, 1866. 
"My Dear Mrs. Davis: Your letter of the 12th inst. 
reached Lexington during my absence at Washington. I 
have never seen Mr. Colfax's speech, and am, therefore, 
ignorant of the statements it contained. Had it, how- 
ever, come under my notice, I doubt whether I should have 
thought it proper to reply. / have thought, from the time 
of the cessation of hostilities, that silence and patience on 
the part of the South was the true course; and I think so 
still. Controversy of all kinds will, in my opinion, only 
serve to continue excitement and passion, and will prevent 


the public mind from the acknowledgment and accept- 
ance of the truth. These considerations have kept me 
from replying to accusations made against myself, and 
induced me to recommend the same to others. As 
regards the treatment of the Andersonville prisoners, 
to which you allude, I know nothing and can say nothing 
of my own knowledge. I never had anything to do with 
any prisoners, except to send those taken on the fields, 
where I was engaged, to the Provost Marshal General at 
Richmond. I have felt most keenly the sufferings and 
imprisonment of your husband, and have earnestly con- 
sulted with friends as to any possible mode of affording 
him relief and consolation. He enjoys the sympathy and 
respect of all good men ; and if, as you state, his trial is 
now near, the exhibition of the whole truth in his case 
will, I trust, prove his defense and justification. With 
sincere prayers for his health and speedy restoration to 
liberty, and earnest supplications to God that He may 
take you and yours under His guidance and protection, 
I am, with great respect, 

"Your obedient servant, 

"R. E. Lee." 

In further illustration of these views, held so strongly 
by him and practised so faithfully throughout his life, 
the following, written to a gentleman in Baltimore, is 
given : 

"Lexington, Virginia, April 13, 1866. 
"My Dear Sir: Your letter of the 5th inst., inclosing a 
slip from the Baltimore American, has been received. 
The same statement has been published at the North 
for several years. The statement is not true; but I. have 
not thought proper to publish a contradiction, being 
unwilling to be drawn into a newspaper discussion, 
believing that those who know me would not credit it 
and those who do not would care nothing about it. I 
cannot now depart from the rule I have followed. It is 


so easy to make accusations against the people at the 
South upon similar testimony, that those so disposed, 
should one be refuted, will immediately create another ; 
and thus you would be led into endless controversy. I 
think it better to leave their correction to the return 
of reason and good feeling. 

"Thanking you for your interest in my behalf, and 
begging you to consider my letter as intended only for 
yourself, I am, 

"Most respectfully your obedient servant, 

"R. E. Lee." 

In this connection I give the following letter thanking 
Mr. Burr for a copy of the "Old Guard" which he had 
sent him, and showing also what, in his opinion, the 
South had fought for, and of what true republicanism 
consists : 

"Lexington, Virginia, January 5, 1866. 
"Mr. C. Chauncey Burr. 

" My Dear Sir: I am very much obliged to you for your 
letter of the 27th tilt., and for the number of the 'Old 
Guard' which you kindly sent me. I am glad to know 
that the intelligent and respectable people at the North 
are true and conservative in their opinions, for I believe 
by no other course can the right interests of the country 
be maintained. All that the South has ever desired 
was that the Union, as established by our forefathers, 
should be preserved, and that the government as orig- 
inally organised should be administered in purity and 
truth. If such is the desire of the North, there can be 
no contention between the two sections, and all true 
patriots will unite in advocating that policy which will 
soonest restore the country to tranquillity and order, 
and serve to perpetuate true republicanism. Please 
accept my thanks for your advocacy of right and 


liberty and the kind sentiments which you express 

toward myself, and believe me to be, with great respect, 

''Your obedient servant, 

"R. E. Lee." 

An interesting view of my father's desire to keep 
himself from public attention is shown by his correspond- 
ence with an English gentleman, Mr. Herbert C. Saunders. 
The connected interview states his opinions on several 
points which are valuable. The copy of these papers 
was kindly furnished me by Mr. John Lyle Campbell, the 
Proctor of Washington and Lee University: 

"Washington and Lee University, 

"Lexington, Virginia, January 19, 1900. 
"Capt. Robert E. Lee, 

"West Point, Virginia. 

"Bear Capt. Lee: I inclose the copy promised you of 
the papers found in General Lee's desk. The paper 
seems to have had his careful revision, as there are a good 
many passages stricken out and a good many insertions 
in what seems to me undoubtedly to be his handwriting ; 
and I was very much interested in the changes that he 
made, as they were most characteristic of him — toning 
everything down, striking out adjectives, turning phrases 
from a personal to a general character, and always adding 
simplicity and force to the original. It seems to me 
most likely that he was at first disposed to allow the 
publication, but declined at last, on August 2 2d, the 
full limit of time indicated in Mr. Saunders's letter. I 
am Yours truly, 

" (Diet.) Jno. L. Campbell." 

The papers of which the following are copies were 
found in General Robert E. Lee's desk in the President's 
Office at Washington and Lee University. On the 


envelope in which they were inclosed was the following 
indorsement in General Lee's handwriting: 

"London, July 31, 1866. 
" Herbert C. Saunders asks permission to publish his 
conversation with me. August 2 2d — Refused." 

" 3 Bolton Gardens, South Kensington, 
"London, July 31, 1866. 
11 My Dear General Lee: Presuming on the acquaint- 
ance with you which I had the honour and pleasure of 
making last November at Lexington, while travelling 
in Virginia, I venture now to write to you under these 
circumstances. You may remember that, at the time I 
presented to you my letter of introduction, I told you 
that two other Englishmen, friends of mine, who had 
come with me to America, were then making a tour 
through Georgia, the Carolinas, and some other Southern 
States. One of them, Mr. Kennaway, was so much 
interested with all he saw, and the people at home have 
appreciated his letters descriptive of it so well, that he is 
intending to publish a short account of his visit. Not 
having, however, had an introduction to yourself, he is 
anxious to avail himself of the somewhat full accounts I 
wrote home at the time, descriptive of my most interesting 
interview with you, and, with this view, he has asked me 
to put into the shape of a letter all those more prominent 
points which occur to me as gathered from my letters 
and my recollection, and which are likely to interest and 
instruct the English public. I have, after some hesitation, 
acceded to the request — a hesitation caused mainly by 
the fact that at the time I saw you I neither prepared my 
notes with a view to publication nor did I inform you 
that there was any chance of what you told me being 
repeated. I may add that I never until a month or two 
ago had the slightest thought of publishing anything, and, 
in fact, have constantly resisted the many applications by 
my friends that I should let my letters see the light. My 


object in now writing to you is to know whether you have 
any objection to my giving my friend the inclosed short 
account of our interview, as it would, I am convinced, add 
greatly to the interest of the narrative. If you have no 
objection to this, perhaps you would kindly correct any 
statements put into your mouth which are not quite accu- 
rate, or expunge anything which might prejudice you with 
the public either of the North or the South, if unluckily 
anything of this nature should have crept in. My letters 
were written a day or two after the conversation, but 
you had so much of interest and new to tell me that I do 
not feel sure that I may not have confused names of 
battles, etc., in some instances. It will be necessary 
for me to deliver my part of the performance early in 
September to the publishers, and, therefore, I should feel 
much obliged by your sending me an answer at your 
earliest convenience. There will be a mail due here about 
the first of that month, leaving the United States on 
Wednesday, the 2 2d, and I shall, therefore, wait till 
its arrival before sending my letter to Mr. Kennaway ; but 
should I not hear from you then I shall consider you have 
no objections to make or alterations to suggest, and act 
accordingly. If you have any new facts which you think 
it desirable should be known by the public, it will give 
me much pleasure to be the medium of their communi- 

11 1 am sure I need scarcely tell you with what keen 
interest I have read all the accounts from your continent 
of the proceedings in Congress and elsewhere in connec- 
tion with the reconstruction of the South. I do sincerely 
trust it may be eventually effected in a way satisfactory 
to the South, and I most deeply deplore the steps taken 
by the Radical side of the House to set the two (North 
and South) by the ears again. President Johnson's 
policy seems to me to be that which, if pursued, would 
be most likely to contribute to the consolidation of the 
country ; but I am both surprised and pained to find how 
little power the Executive has against so strong a faction 


as the Radicals, who, while they claim to represent the 
North, do, in fact, but misrepresent the country. I am 
sure you will believe that I say with sincerity that I 
always take gi-eat interest in anything I hear said or 
that I read of yourself, and I am happy to say that, even 
with all the rancour of the Northern Radicals against the 
South, it is little they find of ill to say of you. 

" Hoping you will not think I am doing wrong in the 
course I propose to take, and that your answer may be 
satisfactory, I remain, my dear General Lee, 

" Yours very sincerely, Herbert C. Saunders. 

"General Robert E. Lee." 

" Lexington, Virginia, August 22, 1866. 
" Mr. Herbert C. Saunders, 
" 3 Bolton Gardens, 

" South Kensington, London, England. 
"My Bear Mr. Saunders: I received to-day your 
letter of the 31st ult. What I stated to you in conversa- 
tion, during the visit which you did me the honour to pay 
me in November last, was entirely for your own in- 
formation, and was in no way intended for publication. 
My only object was to gratify the interest which you 
apparently evinced on the several topics which were 
introduced, and to point to facts which you might 
investigate, if you so desired, in your own way. I have 
an objection to the publication of my private conversa- 
tions, which are never intended but for those to whom 
they are addressed. I cannot, therefore, without an 
entire disregard of the rule which I have followed in 
other cases, and in violation of my own sense of propriety, 
assent to what you propose. I hope, therefore, you will 
excuse me. What you may think proper to publish I 
hope will be the result of your own observations and 
convictions, and not on my authority. In the hasty 
perusal which I have been obliged to give the manuscript 
inclosed to me, I perceive many inaccuracies, resulting 
as much, perhaps, from my imperfect narration as from 


misapprehension on your part. Though fully appreciating 
your kind wish to correct certain erroneous statements 
as regards myself, I prefer remaining silent to doing 
anything that might excite angry discussion at this time, 
when strong efforts are being made by conservative men, 
North and South, to sustain President Johnson in his 
policy, which, I think, offers the only means of healing 
the lamentable divisions of the country, and which the 
result of the late convention at Philadelphia gives great 
promise of doing. Thanking you for the opportunity 
afforded me of expressing my opinion before executing 
your purpose, I am, etc., 

"R. E. Lee." 

The following is Mr. Saunders' account of the interview: 

" On only one subject would he talk at any length about 
his own conduct, and that was with reference to the 
treatment of the Federal prisoners who had fallen into 
his hands. He seemed to feel deeply the backhanded 
stigma cast upon him by his having been included by 
name in the first indictment framed against Wirz, though 
he was afterward omitted from the new charges. He 
explained to me the circumstances under which he had 
arranged with McClellan for the exchange of prisoners; 
how he had, after the battles of Manassas, Fredericksburg, 
and (I think) Chancellors ville, sent all the wounded over 
to the enemy on the engagement of their generals to parole 
them. He also told me that on several occasions his 
commissary generals had come to him after a battle and 
represented that he had not rations enough both for 
prisoners and the army when the former had to be sent 
several days' march to their place of confinement, and he 
had always given orders that the wants of the prisoners 
should be first attended to, as from their position they 
could not save themselves from starvation by foraging 
or otherwise, as the army could when in straits for pro- 
visions.' The General also explained how every effort 


had always been made by the Confederates to do away 
with the necessity of retaining prisoners by offering every 
facility for exchange, till at last, when all exchange was 
refused, they found themselves with 30,000 prisoners for 
whom they were quite unable to do as much as they 
wished in the way of food. He stated, furthermore, that 
many of their hardships arose from the necessity of 
constantly changing the prisons to prevent recapture. 
With the management of the prisons he assured me he 
had no more to do than I had, and did not even know 
that Wirz w r as in charge of Andersonville prison (at least, 
I think he asserted this) till after the war was over. I 
could quite sympathise with him in his feeling of pain 
under which his generous nature evidently suffered that 
the authorities at Washington should have included him 
and others similarly circumstanced in this charge of 
cruelty at the time that letters written by himself (General 
Lee), taken in Richmond when captured, complaining 
that the troops in his army had actually been for days 
together on several occasions without an ounce of meat, 
were in possession of the military authorities. 

" When discussing the state of feeling in England w T ith 
regard to the war, he assured me that it had all along given 
him the greatest pleasure to feel that the Southern cause 
had the sympathies of so many in the ' old country, ' to 
which he looked as a second home; but, in answer to my 
questions, he replied that he had never expected us to 
give them material aid, and added that he thought all 
governments were right in studying only the interests 
of their own people and in not going to war for an ' idea ' 
when they had no distinct cause of quarrel. 

" On the subject of slavery, he assured me that he had 
always been in favour of the emancipation of the negroes, 
and that in Virginia the feeling had been strongly in- 
clining in the same direction, till the ill-judged enthusiasm 
(amounting to rancour) of the abolitionists in the North 
had turned the Southern tide of feeling in the other 
direction. In Virginia, about thirty years ago, an 


ordinance for the emancipation of the slaves had been 
rejected by only a small majority, and every one fully 
expected at the next convention it would have been 
carried, but for the above cause. He went on to say that 
there was scarcely a Virginian now who was not glad 
that the subject had been definitely settled, though nearly 
all regretted that they had not been wise enough to do it 
themselves the first year of the war. Allusion was 
made by him to a conversation he had with a distin- 
guished countryman of mine. He had been visiting a 
large slave plantation (Shirley) on the James River. 
The Englishman had told him that the working popula- 
tion were better cared for there than in any country he 
had ever visited, but that he must never expect an 
approval of the institution of slavery by England, or aid 
from her in any cause in which that question was involved. 
Taking these facts and the well-known antipathy of the 
mass of the English to the institution into consideration, 
he said he had never expected help from England. The 
people ' at the South ' (as the expression is) , in the main, 
though scarcely unanimously, seem to hold much the 
same language as General Lee with reference to our 
neutrality, and to be much less bitter than Northerners 
generally — who, I must confess, in my own opinion, have 
much less cause to complain of our interpretation of the 
laws of neutrality than the South. I may mention here, by 
way of parenthesis, that / was, on two separate occasions 
(once in Washington and once in Lexington) , told that 
there were many people in the country who wished that 
General Washington had never lived and that they were 
still subjects of Queen Victoria; but I should certainly say 
as a rule the Americans are much too well satisfied with 
themselves for this feeling to be at all common. General 
Lee, in the course of this to me most interesting evening's 
seance, gave me many details of the war too long to put 
on paper, but, with reference to the small result of their 
numerous victories, accounted for it in this way: the 
force which the Confederates brought to bear was so 


often inferior in numbers to that of the Yankees that the 
more they followed up the victory against one portion 
of the enemy's line the more did they lay themselves open 
to being surrounded by the remainder of the enemy. He 
likened the operation to a man breasting a wave of the 
sea, who, as rapidly as he clears a way before him, is 
enveloped by the very water he has displaced. He 
spoke of the final surrender as inevitable owing to the 
superiority in numbers of the enemy. His own army 
had, during the last few weeks, suffered materially from 
defection in its ranks, and, discouraged by failures and 
worn out by hardships, had at the time of the surrender 
only 7,892 men under arms, and this little army was 
almost surrounded by one of 100,000. They might, the 
General said with an air piteous to behold, have cut 
their way out as they had done before, but, looking upon 
the struggle as hopeless, I was not surprised to hear him 
say that he thought it cruel to prolong it. In two other 
battles he named (Sharpsburg and Chancellors ville, I 
think he said) , the Confederates were to the Federals in 
point of numbers as 35,000 to 120,000 and as 45,000 to 
155,000 respectively, so that the mere disparity of 
numbers was not sufficient to convince him of the neces- 
sity of surrender; but feeling that his own army was 
persuaded of the ultimate hopelessness of the contest as 
evidenced by their defection, he took the course of sur- 
rendering his army in lieu of reserving it for utter an- 

" Turning to the political bearing of the important 
question at issue, the great Southern general gave me, at 
some length, his feelings with regard to the abstract right 
of secession. This right, he told me, was held as a consti- 
tutional maxim at the South. As to its exercise at the 
time on the part of the South, he was distinctly opposed, 
and it was not until Lincoln issued a proclamation for 
75,000 men to invade the South, which was deemed 
clearly unconstitutional, that Virginia withdrew from the 
United States. 


" We discussed a variety of other topics, and, at eleven 
o'clock when I rose to go, he begged me to stay on, as he 
found the nights full long. His son, General Custis Lee, 
who had distinguished himself much during the war, but 
whom I had not the good fortune of meeting, is the only 
one of his family at present with him at Lexington, where 
he occupies the position of a professor in the Military 
Institute of Virginia. This college had 250 cadets in it 
when the war broke out, General 'Stonewall' Jackson 
being one of the professors. At one moment in the war, 
when the Federals were advancing steadily up the 
Shenandoah Valley, these youths (from 16 to 22 years 
of age) were marched to join the Confederate Army, and 
did good service. In one battle at Newmarket, of which 
I shall have occasion to speak later in my letters, they 
distinguished themselves in a conspicuous way under the 
leadership of Colonel Shipp, who is still their commandant. 
By a brilliant charge, they contributed, in a great measure, 
to turn the tide of affairs, losing nine of their number 
killed and more than forty wounded. General Hunter, 
on a subsequent occasion, when occupying Lexington 
with a body of Federal troops, quartered his men in the 
Military Institute for several days, and, on leaving, had 
the building — a very handsome and extensive one — fired 
in numerous places, completely destroying all but the 
external walls, which now stand. The professors' houses 
stood in detached positions, and these, too, with the 
house of Mr. Letcher, a former governor of the State, he 
also burnt to the ground. The Washington College, the 
presidency of which General Lee now holds, they also 
ransacked, destroying everything it contained, and were 
preparing it for the flames, to which they were with 
difficulty restrained from devoting it by earnest repre- 
sentations of its strictly educational nature." 


Family Affairs 

the general writes to his sons to his wife at 

rockbridge baths he joins her there about 

once a week distinguished and undistinguished 

callers at his lexington home he advocates 

early hours his fondness for animals 

I had before this time gone to my farm in King William 
County and started out in life as a farmer. As there was 
nothing but the land and a few old buildings left, for 
several years I had a very up-hill time. My father 
encouraged, advised me, and gave me material aid. His 
letters to me at this time will show the interest he took 
in my welfare. In one written March 16, 1866, after 
advising me as to steps to be taken in repairing an old 
mill on the place, he writes : 

" I am clear for your doing everything to improve your 
property and make it remunerative as far as you can. 
You know my objection to incurring debt. I cannot 
overcome it. . . . I hope you will overcome your 
chills, and by next winter you must patch up your house, 
and get a sweet wife. You will be more comfortable, 
and not so lonesome. Let her bring a cow and a churn. 
That will be all you will want. . . . Give my love 
to Fitzhugh. I wish' he were regularly established. He 
cannot afford to be idle. He will be miserable." 

My brother Fitzhugh, here referred to, was negotiating 
to rent his farm, the White House, to some so-called 



English capitalists, and had not as yet established him- 
self. In another letter to me, of May 26, 1866, my father 

". . . I will state, at the outset, that I desire you 
to consider Romancoke with its appurtenances your own ; 
to do with as you consider most to your interest ; to sell, 
farm, or let; subject, however, to the conditions imposed 
by your grandfather's will, as construed by the decree of 
the Court of Appeals of Virginia, which declares, ' If the 
legacies are not paid off by the personal property, hires 
of slaves, rents, and sale of the real estate, charged with 
their payment, at the end of five years, the portion unpaid 
remains a charge upon the White House and Romancoke 
until paid. The devisees take their estates cum onere.' 

"The result of the war having deprived the estates of 
the benefit of the hire of the slaves and the sale of Smith's 
Island, and the personal property having all been swept 
off by the Federal armies, there is nothing left but the 
land of the two estates named. A court might make 
some deduction from the amount of the legacies to be paid 
in consideration of these circumstances, and I should 
think it would be fair to do so. But of that I cannot say. 
Now, with this understanding, make your own arrange- 
ments to suit yourself, and as you may determine most 
conducive to your interests. In confirming your action, 
as the executor of your grandfather, I must, however, take 
such measures as may be necessary to carry out the pur- 
pose of his will. ... If you are determined to hold 
the estate, I think you ought to make it profitable. As 
to the means of doing so, you must decide for yourself. 
I am unable to do it for you, and might lead you astray. 
Therefore, while always willing to give you any advice in 
my power, in whatever you do you must feel that the 
whole responsibility rests with you. . . . I wish, my 
dear son, I could be of some advantage to you, but I can 
only give you my love and earnest prayers, and commit 


you to the keeping of that God who never forgets those 
who serve Him. May He watch over and preserve you. 
" Your affectionate father, 

"R. E. Lee." 

In another letter, of June 13th, after telling me of the 
visit of a cousin of my mother's and how much gratifica- 
tion it was to have her with them, he regrets that her son> 
who brought his mother up to Lexington, had to hurry 
home on account of having left his wife and little son : 

". . . When you have such pleasing spurs in your 
flanks, I hope you may be on the fair road to prosperity. 
All unite in love to you and Fitzhugh. Ask the latter if 
George has yet found a horse to trade with the gray. We 
miss him very much,* and want to see you as badly. You 
may judge how poorly we are off. The examination has 
commenced at Washington College. Three days are over 

successfully, and I hope to finish in twelve more. 

has been up in two subjects, and not got thrown. He has 
two more. But, in the meantime, I am much occupied, 
and will be confined all day. I have no time for letters of 
affection, so must tell you good-bye. 

''Most affectionately, 

"R. E. Lee." 

This was the first final examination at Washington Col- 
lege since my father became its president. He worked 
very hard, and was kept busy attending to all the details 
and the putting into practice of several new methods and 
systems he had introduced. 

That summer he took my mother to the Rockbridge 
Baths, about eleven miles from Lexington, to give her the 
benefit of the waters, which, he hoped, might give her some 
relief from the continual pain she suffered. She did derive 

*My brother had recently visited Lexington. 


benefit, but, unfortunately, had a fall which seriously 
impeded the improvement. In reply to a note from my 
mother telling him of her misfortune and asking him to 
send her some medicines, he writes the following note : 

"Lexington, Virginia, August 10, 1866. 
"My Dear Mary: On receiving your note, yesterday, I 
had only time to get the arnica and send it by the stage. 
I am very sorry that you received such a fall, and fear it 
must have been a heavy shock to you. I am, however, 
very thankful that you escaped greater injury, and hope 
it is no worse than you describe. I will endeavour to get 
down to see you to-morrow evening, and trust I may find 
you somewhat relieved from its effects. We are pretty 
well here. Many people are out of town, and I have not 
seen those who are in. Love to the girls. 

"Truly and affectionately yours, 

"R. E. Lee. 
"Mrs. M. C. Lee." 

My father was still very busy with his college work, 
and, after establishing her there, spent most of the time 
in Lexington, riding Traveller over to see her whenever 
he could get a spare day. Among the few letters pre- 
served of those written to her at this time, I have a note 
of July 1 6th : 

" My Dear Mary: I am glad to see by your letter of yes- 
terday that you are recovering so well from your fall. I 
hope you may soon be well again. . . . Caroline* got 
back this morning. Left her daughter better. Says there 
is a very good girl in Lynchburg, from General Cocke's 
estate, anxious to live with us. I shall have more conversa- 
tion with her [Caroline], and, if satisfied, will write for her, 
by the boat to-night. Her father is in Lynchburg, and 
anxious for her to come. . . , Tell Mrs. Cabell I am 

* The cook. 


sorry to have missed seeing her. Where is Katie ? I wish 
she would send her to see me. I will endeavour to find 
some one to carry this to you. Love to all. 

''Very affectionately and truly yours, 

"R. E. Lee." 

The mails in those days were not very direct, and pri- 
vate messenger was often the surest and speediest method 
of letter-carriage. In the absence of my mother, my 
father was trying to better the staff of servants. Their 
inefficiency was the drawback to our comfort then, as it 
is now. Often the recommendation of some was only the 
name of the estate from which they came. A few days 
later, my father writes again : 

"Lexington, Virginia, July 20, 1866. 
" My Dear Mary: I was glad to receive your note this 
morning, and wish it could have reported a marked 
improvement in your health. But that, I trust, will come 
in time. It has been impossible for me to return to you 
this week, and, indeed, I do not see how I can absent 
myself at all. I shall endeavour to go to the Baths Mon- 
day, and hope during the week you may be able to deter- 
mine whether it would be more advantageous for you to 
remain there or go further, as I shall have to return here 
as soon as I can. I can accomplish nothing while absent. 
Custis has determined to accompany Mr. Harris to the 
White Sulphur Monday, and the girls seem indifferent 
about leaving home. They ask, properly, what is to 
become of it ? Mr. Pierre Chouteau, son of Julia Gratiot 
and Charles Chouteau, will hand you this. He will 
remain over Sunday at the Baths, and can tell you all 
about St. Louis. I send such letters as have come for 
you. I have no news. The heat seems to extend every- 
where, but it will be cool enough after a time. We are 
as usual, except that 'Aunt ' Caroline* seems more over- 

* The cook. 


come, and Harriet* indulges in lighter attire. I fear Mrs. 
Myers had an awful time. The Elliotts do not seem in 
haste to leave town. They are waiting for a cool day to 
go to the Natural Bridge, and do not seem to have decided 
whether to go to the Baths or Alum Springs. We had an 
arrival last night from the latter place — General Colquit 
and daughters. They return to-morrow. The girls will 
write of domestic matters. I received a letter from Rob 
at Romancoke. He is still taking cholagogue, but well. 
Nothing of interest has occurred. 

"Affectionately yours, 

"R. E. Lee." 

Cholagogue was a fever-and-ague remedy of which I 
partook largely at that time. After this letter, my sisters 
joined my mother at the Baths, my father still spending 
most of his time in Lexington, but riding over to see them 
whenever he could. He was very busy repairing some of 
the old buildings of the college and arranging his work for 
the next session. Here is another short note to my 
mother : 

"Lexington, Virginia, August 2, 1866. 
" My Dear Mary: Mr. Campbell has just informed me 
that Cousins George and Eleanor Goldsborough are with 
you. Tell them they must not go till I can get to the 
Baths. I think the waters of the latter will do them as 
much good as anything they can try, and the sight of them 
will do me great benefit. I find here much to do, but will 
endeavour to be with you to-morrow evening or Saturday 
morning. Custis has just come, but finding me occupied 
with builders, shook hands, got his dinner, and left for the 
Institute. So I do not know where he is from or where 
he will go next. Our neighbours are generally well, and 
inquire for you. Colonel Reid better. Tell the girls, if I 
find them improving, I will bring them something. 

* The maid. 


Remember me to Cousins George and Eleanor and all the 
ladies. I have about a bushel of letters to answer and 
other things to do. 

"Very affectionately, 

"R. E. Lee." 

On one of his visits to my mother, he took advantage 
of the comparative quiet and rest there and wrote me a 
long letter, which I give here in full : 

"Rockbridge Baths, July 28, 1866. 
" My Dear Robert: I was very glad to see from your let- 
ter of the 2d the progress you are making in your farm. 
I hope things may move prosperously with you, but you 
must not expect this result without corresponding atten- 
tion and labour. I should like very much to visit you, 
but it will be impossible. I have little time for anything 
but my business. I am here with your mother, waiting 
to see the effects of these waters upon her disease, before 
proceeding to the Warm Springs. She is pleased with the 
bath, which she finds very, agreeable, and it has reduced 
the swelling in her feet and ankles, from which she has 
been suffering for a long time, and, in fact, from her 
account, entirely removed it. This is a great relief in 
itself, and, I hope, may be followed by greater. I do not 
think she moves with more facility, though I think she 
walks [on her crutches] oftener and longer than here- 
tofore, and probably with more confidence. She has been 
here too short a time to pronounce positively as to the 
effects of the water, and will have to remain three or four 
weeks before we determine whether she will go further. I 
am unwilling for her to lose the whole summer here unless 
it promises some advantage, and, after the middle of next 
week, unless some marked change takes place, shall take 
her to the Warm Springs. Custis has gone to the White 
Sulphur, but expects to be in Richmond on August 6th 
to meet Fitzhugh, with the view of going to the Warrenton 
White Sulphur Springs in North Carolina, to witness the 


erection of a monument over dear Annie, which the kind 
people of that country have prepared for the purpose. 
My attendance on your mother, which is necessary, pre- 
vents my being present. Agnes and Mildred are here. 
I think the baths have been beneficial to them already, 
though they have not been here a week. I will leave 
them to describe the place and visitors. I applied the 
dressing of salt to the old meadow at Arlington with the 
view of renovating the grass. I believe it is equally good 
for corn. It was refuse salt — Liverpool — which I bought 
cheaply in Alexandria from the sacks having decayed and 
broken, but I cannot recollect exactly how much I applied 
to the acre. I think it was about two or three bushels to 
the acre. You had better consult some work on farming 
as to the quantity. I would advise you to apply manure 
of some kind to all your land. I believe there is nothing 
better or cheaper for you to begin with than shell lime. I 
would prefer cultivating less land manured in some way 
than a large amount unassisted. We are always delighted 
to hear from you, and I trust with care you may escape 
the chills. The incentives I spoke of were a sweet wife 
and child. God bless you, my dear son. 
"Most affectionately, 

"R. E. Lee." 

My mother continued to improve so much that she 
did not go that summer to the Warm Springs. My 
father spent most of his time in Lexington, but rode over 
to the Baths about once a week. There was nothing he 
enjoyed more than a good long ride on Traveller. It 
rested him from the cares and worries incident to his 
duties, and gave him renewed energy for his work. He 
was often seen that summer along the eleven miles of 
mountain road between Lexington and the Baths. He 
made himself acquainted with the people living near it, 
talked to them about their affairs, encouraged and 
advised them, and always had a cheery greeting and a 


pleasant word for them. The little children along his 
route soon became acquainted with the gray horse and 
his stately rider. College reopened the last of September, 
and by October he had his wife and daughters with him 
again. He writes to me on October 18th, trying to help 
me in my agricultural perplexities: 

" . . . Am glad to hear that you are well and pro- 
gressing favourably. Your Uncle Smith says, in a letter 
just received in which he writes of his difficulties and 
drawbacks, ' I must tell you that if you desire to succeed 
in any matter relating to agriculture you must personally 
superintend and see to everything.' Perhaps your 
experience coincides with his. 

" I hope your wheat will reimburse you for your labour 
and guano. I think you are right in improving your 
land. You will gain by cultivating less and cultivating 
that well, and I would endeavour to manure every crop — 
as to the kind of manure which will be the most profitable, 
you must experiment. Lime acts finely on your land, 
and is more lasting than guano. If you can, get shells 
to burn on your land, or, if not, shell lime from Baltimore. 
I think you would thereby more certainly and more 
cheaply restore your fields. I hope your sale of ship- 
timber may place you in funds to make your experiments. 
You will have to attend to your contractors. They will 
generally bear great attention, and then circumvent you. 
. . . I hope I shall see you this winter, when we can 
talk over the matter. We are pretty well. Your 
mother is better by her visit to the Baths. Mildred 
talks of going to the Eastern Shore of Maryland next 
month, and I fear will be absent from us all winter. I 
must refer you to your sisters for all news. They are 
great letter-writers, and their correspondence extends 
over the globe. Miss Etta Seldon is with us. All our 
summer visitors have gone, and some who, I hoped, 


would have visited us have not come. . . . Good- 
bye, my dear son. God bless you. . . . 
"Your affectionate father, 

"R. E. Lee." 

"Robert E. Lee, Jr." 

My uncle, Smith Lee, was farming on the Potomac, 
and was constantly sending me messages of condolence 
through my father. Our experiences were the same as 
all others starting to farm under the new order of things. 
My father was very hospitable, and it delighted him to 
have his relatives and friends come to see him. So 
many kindnesses had been shown to himself and family 
for the last five years that he greatly enjoyed this, his 
first opportunity of greeting in his own home those who 
had so often offered my mother and sisters the shelter of 
theirs. The country around Lexington was most beau- 
tiful, and the climate in the summer and autumn all that 
could be desired. So, at those seasons, whenever he was 
at home, there was generally some one visiting him, 
nearly always relatives or old and dear friends. He en- 
tertained very simply, made every one feel at home, and 
was always considerate and careful of the amusement 
and welfare of his guests. 

People came from all over the world to Lexington to 
see him. Amongst the visitors from afar were the 
Marquis of Lome and the Hon. Mr. Cooper, who were on 
a tour through the United States. They came to Lex- 
ington to see General Lee. When they called at the 
house there happened to be no servant at hand, and my 
father, meeting them at the door, received their cards. 
Not having on his glasses, he could not read the names, 
but ushered the strangers into the parlour, and presented 


them to Mrs. Lee, without calling their names. My 
mother thought the tall, slender youth was a new student, 
and entered into conversation with him as such. Struck 
by his delicate appearance, she cautioned him against 
the harsh winter climate of the mountains, and urged 
him to be careful of his health. On this, Mr. Cooper 
explained who his compainon was, and there was much 
amusement over the mistake. 

The professors and students of the two institutions of 
learning were constant visitors, especially in the evenings, 
when young men came to see the girls. If his daughters 
had guests, my father usually sat with my mother 
in the dining-room adjoining the drawing-room. When 
the clock struck ten he would rise and close the shutters 
carefully and slowly, and, if that hint was not taken, he 
would simply say "Good night, young gentlemen." 
The effect was immediate and lasting, and his wishes in 
that matter, finally becoming generally known, were 
always respected. Captain W. , who had very soon found 
out the General's views as to the time of leaving, was 
told on one occasion that General Lee had praised him 
very much. 

" Do you know why ? " said the Captain. " It is because 
I have never been caught in the parlour at ten o'clock. 
I came very near it last night, but got out into the porch 
before the General shut the first blind. That's the reason 
he calls me ' a fine young man.'" 

A young friend who was a cadet at the Virginia Mili- 
tary Institute called on my sisters one evening, and 
remarked, just for something to say: 

" Do you know this is the first civilian's house I have 
entered in Lexington." 

My father was in the room in his gray Confederate 


coat, shorn of the buttons; also my two brothers, Custis 
and Fitzhugh, both of whom had been generals in the 
Confederate Army; so there was quite a laugh over the 
term civilian. I have already mentioned how particular 
my father was about answering all letters. It was a 
great tax on his time, and some of them must have been 
a trial to his temper. The following will explain itself : 

"Lexington, Virginia, September 5, 1866. 
"A. J. Requier, 

"81 Cedar St., New York. 
" My Dear Sir: I am very much obliged to you for your 
kind letter of the 2 2d ult. So many articles formerly be- 
longing to me are scattered over the country that I fear 
I have not time to devote to their recovery. I know no 
one in Buffalo whom I could ask to reclaim the Bible in 
question. If the lady who has it will use it, as I hope she 
will, she will herself seek to restore it to the rightful 
owner. I will, therefore, leave the decision of the question 
to her and her conscience. I have read with great 
pleasure the poem you sent me, and thank you sincerely 
for your interest in my behalf. With great respect, 
" Your obedient servant, 

"R. E. Lee." 

Here is another one of many of a similar character: 

"Lexington, Virginia, September 26, 1866. 
"Mr. E. A. Pollard, 

"104 West Baltimore St., 
"Baltimore, Md. 
"Dear Sir: I return you my thanks for the compli- 
ment paid me by your proposition to write a history of 
my life. It is a hazardous undertaking to publish the 
life of any one while living, and there are but few who 
would desire to read a true history of themselves. In- 
dependently of the few national events with which mine 
has been connected, it presents little to interest the general 


reader, nor do I know where to refer you for the necessary 
materials. All my private, as well as public, records have 
been destroyed or lost, except what is to be found in 
published documents, and I know of nothing available for 
the purpose. Should you, therefore, determine to under- 
take the work, you must rely upon yourself, as my time 
is so fully occupied that I am unable to promise you any 

" Very respectfully, 

"R. E. Lee." 

This autumn my sister Mildred paid a visit to our 
cousins, Mr. and Mrs. George Goldsborough, living at 
"Ashby," near Easton, on the Eastern Shore of Mary- 
land. She remained away there and elsewhere for 
several months. My father's letters to her, many of 
which have been preserved, are most interesting. They 
show very plainly many beautiful phases of his noble 
character and disposition: 

"Lexington, Virginia, December 21, 1866. 
"My Precious Life: I was very glad to receive your 
letter of the 15th inst., and to learn that you were well 
and happy. May you be always as much so as is con- 
sistent with your welfare here and hereafter, is my daily 
prayer. I was much pleased, too, that, while enjoying 
the kindness of your friends, we were not forgotten. 
Experience will teach you that, notwithstanding all 
appearances to the contrary, you will never receive 
such a love as is felt for you by your father and mother. 
That lives through absence, difficulties, and time,. Your 
own feelings will teach you how it should be returned 
and appreciated. I want to see you very much, and miss 
you at every turn, yet am glad of this opportunity for you 
to be with those who, I know, will do all in their power 
to give you pleasure. I hope you will also find time to 
read and improve your mind. Read history, works of 


truth, not novels and romances. Get correct views of 
life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will 
enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when 
summoned away, to leave without regret. Your friends 
here inquire constantly after you, and wish for your 
return. Mrs. White and Mrs. McElwee particularly 
regret your absence, and the former sends especial thanks 
for your letter of remembrance. We get on in our usual 
way. Agnes takes good care of us, and is very thoughtful 
and attentive. She has not great velocity, but is sys- 
tematic and quiet. After to-day, the mornings will 
begin to lengthen a little, and her trials to lessen. It is 
very cold, the ground is covered with six inches of snow, 
and the mountains, as far as the eye can reach in every 
direction, elevate their white crests as monuments of 
winter. This is the night for the supper for the repairs 
to the Episcopal church. Your mother and sisters are 
busy with their contributions. It is to take place at the 
hotel, and your brother, cousins, and father are to attend. 
On Monday night (24th), the supper for the Presbyterian 
church is to be held at their lecture -room. They are to 
have music and every attraction. I hope both may be 
productive of good. But you know the Episcopalians 
are few in numbers and light in purse, and must be 
resigned to small returns. ... I must leave to your 
sisters a description of these feasts, and also an account 
of the operation of the Reading Club. As far as I can 
judge, it is a great institution for the discussion of apples 
and chestnuts, but is quite innocent of the pleasures of 
literature. It, however, brings the young people to- 
gether, and promotes sociability and conversation. Our 
feline companions are flourishing. Young Baxter is 
growing in gracefulness and favour, and gives cat-like 
evidences of future worth. He possesses the fashionable 
colour of 'moonlight on the water,' apparently a dingy 
hue of the kitchen, and is strictly aristocratic in appear- 
ance and conduct. Tom, surnamed 'The Nipper,' from 
the manner in which he slaughters our enemies, the rats 


and the mice, is admired for his gravity and sobriety, as 
well as for his strict attention to the pursuits of his race. 
They both feel your absence sorely. Traveller and 
Custis are both well, and pursue their usual dignified gait 
and habits, and are not led away by the frivolous enter- 
tainments of lectures and concerts. All send united love, 
and all wish for your return. Remember me most kindly 
to Cousins Eleanor and George, John, Mary, Ida, and all at 
' Myrtle Grove, ' and to other kind friends when you meet 
them. Mrs. Grady carried yesterday to Mr. Charles Kerr, 
in Baltimore, a small package for you. Be careful of 
your health, and do not eat more than half the plum- 
puddings Cousin Eleanor has prepared for Xmas. I am 
glad to hear that you are fattening, and I hope you will 
reach 125 lbs. Think always of your father, who loves 
you dearly. 

"R. E. Lee. 
"P. S., 2 2d. — Rob arrived last night with 'Lucy 
Long.' Lie thinks it too bad you are away. He has 
not seen you for two years. 

"R. E. Lee." 

" Baxter" and "Tom, the Nipper" were Mildred's pets. 
All of us had a fondness for cats, inherited from my mother 
and her father, Mr. Custis. My father was very fond of 
them in his way and in their place, and was kind to them 
and considerate of their feelings. My mother told of 
his hearing one of the house-pets, possibly Baxter or the 
Nipper, crying and lamenting under his window one 
stormy night. The General got out of bed, opened the 
window, and called pussy to come in. The window was 
so high that the animal could not jump up to it. My 
father then stepped softly across the room, took one of 
my mother's crutches, and held it so far out of the 
window that he became wet from the falling rain ; but he 
persuaded the cat to climb up along the crutch, and into 


the window, before he thought of dry clothing for him- 
self. "Lucy Long" was my father's mare, which had 
been lost or stolen at the end of the war, and which I had 
just brought back to him. I will give in the following 
letter his account of her : 

"Lexington, Virginia, September 4, 1866. 
" Dr. C. S. Garnett. 

"Dear Sir: I am much obliged to you for your letter 
of the 23d ult. and the information it contained. 
The mare about which my son wrote you was bred by 
Mr. Stephen Dandridge, of ' The Bower,' Berkeley County, 
Virginia, and was purchased from him for me by General 
J. E. B. Stuart *in the fall of 1862 — after the return of the 
army from Maryland. She is nine or ten years old, about 
fifteen hands high, square built, sorrel (not chestnut) 
colour, has a fast walk, easy pace, and short canter. 
When I parted with her she had a full long mane and 
tail. I rode her in conjunction with my gray horse from 
the fall of '62 to the spring of '64, when she was sent 
back for refreshment; and it was in recalling her in the 
spring of '65 from Mr. Hairston's, in Henry County, that 
she got into Major Paxton's stables of public horses and 
went to Danville with them. I think she might be 
recognised by any member of the Army of Northern 
Virginia, in Essex, unless much changed. I now recollect 
no distinctive marks about her except a blaze in her 
forehead and white hind-legs. My son, General W. H. F. 
Lee, residing at the White House, in New Kent, might 
recognise her, and also my son Robert, who resides near 
West Point, in King William. Captain Hopkins, to 
whom you refer in your letter, is dead, but Major Paxton, 
who had general charge of the public stables, and to whom 
I referred your letter, has sent me the accompanying 
affidavits of two of the men employed by him. Should 
their evidence not be satisfactory, he will procure state- 
ments from some of the officers, which probably may be 
more definite. I should be obliged to you, if the mare in 


question is the one I am seeking for, that you would take 
steps to recover her, as I am desirous of reclaiming her in 
consideration of the donor, General Stuart. 

"Your obedient servant, R. E. Lee." 

It was proved to the satisfaction of all parties that the 
mare in question was "Lucy Long," and my father 
reimbursed the man who had bought her from some one 
who had no right to her. She was brought to my place 
and I recognised her at once. She stayed with me until 
I was ready to pay my Christmas visit to Lexington. She 
then was put on the train and sent to Staunton, where 
I met her. I found there Colonel William Allan, a pro- 
fessor of Washington College, who had a buggy and no 
horse, and as I had a horse and no buggy, we joined 
forces and I drove him over to Lexington, "Lucy Long" 
carrying us with great ease to herself and comfort to us. 
My father was glad to get her, as he was very fond of her. 
When he heard how she came over, he was really shocked, 
as he thought she had never been broken to harness. 
She lived to be thirty-three years old, and was then 
chloroformed, because my brother thought she had 
ceased to enjoy life. For the last ten years of her life 
she was boarded out in the country, where she did nothing 
but rest, and until about a year before her death she 
seemed in good health and spirits. 


An Ideal Father 

letters to mildred lee to robert to fitzhugh 

interviewed by swinton, historian of the army 

of the potomac improvement in grounds and 

buildings of washington college punctuality 

a prominent trait of its president a strong 

supporter of the y. m. c. a. 

My sister, after the Christmas holidays, went from 
"Ashby" to Baltimore, Cousins George and Eleanor 
Goldsborough taking her with them to their town house. 
I think my father always wanted his daughters with 
him. When they were away he missed them, their love, 
care, and attention. The next letter I find is to Mildred, 
in Baltimore: 

"Lexington, Virginia, January 27, 1867. 
11 My Precious Daughter: Your letter to your mother 
gave us the satisfactory information of your continued 
good health, for I feared that your long silence had been 
caused by indisposition of body, rather than that due to 
writing. I hope you will not let so long an interval 
between your letters occur again, for you know I am 
always longing to hear from you, when I cannot see you, 
and a few lines, if only to say you are well, will prevent 
unpleasant apprehensions. I am delighted at your 
increased bodily dimensions, and your diminished 
drapery. One hundred and twenty-eight avoirdupois is 
approximately a proper standard. Seven more pounds 



will make you all right. But I fear before I see you the 
unnatural life, which I fear you will lead in Baltimore, 
will reduce you to skin and bone. Do not go out to 
many parties, preserve your simple tastes and manners, 
and you will enjoy more pleasure. Plainness and 
simplicity of dress, early hours, and rational amusements, 
I wish you to practise. You must thank Cousins Eleanor 
and George for all their kindness to you, and remember 
me to all friends. If you see your uncle Marshall, present 
my kind regards to him, and my best wishes for his health 
and happiness. I hope you will see Robert. I heard that 
he stayed at Mr. Edward Dallam's when in Baltimore, 
but do not know whether he will return there from 
Lynwood. I was sorry to hear that you lost your purse. 
Perhaps the finder was more in want than you are, and it 
may be of service to him, and you can do without it. 
A little money is sometimes useful. You must bear in 
mind that it will not be becoming in a Virginia girl now to 
be fine or fashionable, and that gentility as well as self- 
respect requires moderation in dress and gaiety. While 
her people are suffering, she should practise self-denial 
and show her sympathy in their affliction. We are all 
pretty well. Your poor mother suffers more pain than 
usual during this inclement weather. Your sister is 
devoted to the snow and ice, and Agnes is becoming a 
very good housekeeper. She has received a letter from 
a gentleman, whose judgment she respects, recommending 
her to acquire that useful knowledge, and assuring her 
that it will not only promote domestic happiness, but will 
add greatly to connubial bliss. This is a great encourage- 
ment to her. Our young friends, the laiv students and 
cadets, all inquire after you and wish for your return. 
Mrs. McElwee and Mrs. White also send their particular 
regards, and Colonel Reid, who seems to be failing fast, 
sends his love, and hopes that you will soon return. You 
know that is my wish and hope, so whenever you are 
ready to return you will know that I am waiting to receive 
you. I will leave your mother and sisters to give you all 


domestic news. Tell Annette I have been looking for 
her in every stage since her letter last fall, and that I hope 
for her arrival daily. Nipper is well, and endeavours, by 
stern gravity, to repress the frivolity of Baxter. All 
unite in much love, and I am, as ever, 

"Your father, R. E. Lee. 

"Miss Mildred Lee." 

Just after the intermediate examinations, he writes to 
Mildred again: 

"Lexington, Virginia, February 16, 1867. 
" My Precious Daughter: I have wished to answer your 
letter of the 2d for some days, but have not been able. 
The intermediate examinations which were in progress 
when it arrived continued ten entire days, and since 
their termination the necessary arrangements for the re- 
sumption of studies, and the reorganisation of the classes, 
have occupied all my time not devoted to other pressing 
matters. The students generally passed very creditable 
examinations. Many of your friends were distinguished. 
The ordeal through which the higher classes passed was 
as severe as any I ever witnessed. Colonel Johnston * 
has arrived and entered upon his duties. He is living 
at the hotel with his wife and six sweet little children, 
being unable to procure a house, and the college being 
too poor to build one for him. We have other professors 
also houseless. Robert has returned to his 'broken- 
back cottage,' though he confesses to having enjoyed 
great pleasure during his visit to Baltimore. He dwells 

with delight upon his intercourse with the Misses , 

whom he considers angels upon earth, without wings. 
His account of them increases my desire to get them to 

Virginia. Miss once promised me to have Fitzhugh. 

Tell her I will release her from her engagement if she 

* William Preston Johnston, the son of General Albert Sidney- 
Johnston, who fell at Shiloh. He had recently been elected to the 
chair of History and Literature at Washington College. 


will take Rob. He was also much gratified at being able 
to spend a week with you, and I am getting very anxious 
for your return. The winter has passed, the snow and 
ice have disappeared, and the birds have returned to 
their favourite resorts in the yard. We have, however, 
a sea of mud around us, through which we have to plunge, 
but I hope the pleasant air and sun now visiting us will 
soon dissipate it. I am glad you are enjoying yourself 
among such kind friends, but do not remain too long, as 
you may detain Cousins Eleanor and George from the 
Eastern Shore. Markie has sent me a likeness of you on 
porcelain, from the negative taken by the celebrated 
Plecker, which she carried with her to Philadelphia. It 
is very good, but I prefer the original. . . . Every- 
body seems anxious for your return, and is surprised you 
can stay so long from your papa. May God bless and 
keep you, my dear child, is the constant prayer of 

" Your devoted father, R. E. Lee." 

Before Mildred returned to Lexington she received 
one more letter from my father, in which he advises her 
of the two routes to Lexington, and tells her some college 

"Lexington, Virginia, February 23, 1867. 
"My Precious Daughter: Agnes wishes you to pur- 
chase some articles for her, and your mother and sister 
may have some commissions, which I fear will reduce 
your purse to an inconvenient collapse. I therefore send 

a check for dollars, which I hope will enable you to 

gratify their wishes and serve as a reserve for your own 
wants. I hope you are well and passing your time 
profitably as well as pleasantly. The cadets are under 
the impression that you are at the Patapsco Institute, 
and will expect to find you, on your return, more agreeable 
than ever. They are labouring so industriously in mental 
culture that they believe every one is similarly engaged. 
I went last evening to the celebration of the anniversary 


of the Washington Society, and was much pleased with 
the speeches. It was held in the Methodist church, 
which was filled to overflowing. The Institute and 
Ann Smith [Female Academy] were represented. Your 
sisters were present, and as they were both absent from 
breakfast this morning I fear so much learning made 
them sleepy. They were also at a cadet hop on the 21st, 
and did not get home till between two and three A. m. on 
the 2 2d. I suppose, therefore, they had 'splendid 
times' and very fresh society. We were somewhat 
surprised the other morning at Mrs. Grady's committing 
matrimony. I missed, at our chapel exercises, Captain 
Grady and our acting chaplain, but did not know at the 
time what prevented their attendance. I heard after- 
wards that they had put the happy pair in the stage and 
sent them on their way rejoicing. She is now Mrs. 
Richard Norris, and has gone to Baltimore. It will be 
but fair now that Captain Grady should go to Baltimore 
and bring us a young lady from there in return for his 
mother. If you see Miss Armistead, ask her to be ready 
on short notice, as we are a people of few words in this 
region, and proceed in all matters in a businesslike way. 
Agnes, I suppose, has told you of all matters of gaiety and 
fashion. She has, no doubt, too, kept you advised of 
the progress of young Baxter and of the deeds of ' Thomas, 
the Nipper.' They are both flourishing, and are much 
admired. . . . The roads are so muddy that my 
evening rides have been suspended, and I see nobody. 
. . . You must write me when to expect you. The 
stage from Staunton now crosses during the night, and, 
when the roads are favourable, arrives about two A. m. 
When the roads are unfavourable, it gets in generally in 
time for an early breakfast. The canal-boats have 
resumed their trips now, so you will have a choice of 
routes from Richmond, if you conclude to go there. All 
unite with me in much love, and I am, always, 

"Your father, R. E. Lee." 


From Lexington I had gone to Baltimore for a short 
visit, and had spent a week with Mildred at the home of 
our cousin, Mr. George Washington Peter, near Ellicott 
City. Soon after getting back to my farm, I received 
the following letter from my father, still trying to help 
me along in my work : 

"Lexington, Virginia, February 8, 1867. 
11 My Dear Son: I was very glad to learn from your 
letter of the 31st ult. that you had enjoyed your visit 
to Baltimore, for I feared when you left us that you 
might have a visit from your shaking enemy. I trust, 
however, that he has now left you never to return. 
Still be prudent and watch his approach closely. I hope 
you may be able to procure some good mules in Richmond, 
as it is a matter of importance to your operations. If 
you can get the lime delivered at ten cents, I do not know 
a more economical application to your land. I believe 
you will be repaid by the first crop, provided it acts as I 
think it will. Of this you must judge, and I can only 
say that if you can accomplish it, and wish to try, 
I can send you $300, and will send it by draft to you, 
or to any one in Baltimore that you will designate, as 
soon as I hear from you. I commend you for not wishing 
to go in debt, or to proceed faster in your operations than 
prudence dictates. I think it economy to improve your 
land, and to begin upon the system you prefer as soon as 
possible. It is your only chance of success, so let me 
know. I have to write in haste, as the examination is in 
progress, and I have to be present. George and Robert 
both came up to-day in the subjects in which they are 
respectively weakest, so give them your good wishes. 
I received yesterday a letter from Mildred regretting your 
departure from Baltimore, and expressing the pleasure 
she derived from having been with you even a short week. 
I hope she will continue well and return to us soon. We 
are all about as you left us. The weather has moderated 
and the ice disappeared from the river, though the boats 


have not yet resumed their trips. Mud predominates 
now instead of snow. . . . Wishing you all happiness, 
I am, Your affectionate father, R. E. Lee. 

"Robert E. Lee, Jr." 

The Robert and George mentioned here were two of 
his nephews whom he was educating at the college, the 
sons, respectively, of his brothers, Sydney Smith Lee and 
Charles Carter Lee. They were members of his house- 
hold and were treated as his own family. 

To my brother Fitzhugh he writes at this time the 
following, chiding him for his extravagance in a Christmas 
gift, and asking him for some data of the movements of 
his command. It is full of good advice, encouragement, 
and affection: 

"Lexington, Virginia, February 26, 1867. 
11 My Dear Fitzhugh: You must not think because I 
write so seldom that you are absent from my thoughts. 
I think of you constantly, and am ever revolving in my 
mind all that concerns you. I have an ardent desire to 
see you re-established at your home and enjoying the 
pleasure of prosperity around you. I know this cannot 
be accomplished at once, but must come from continuous 
labour, economy, and industry, and be the result of years 
of good management. We have now nothing to do but 
to attend to our material interests which collectively will 
advance the interests of the State, and to await events. 
The dominant party cannot reign forever, and truth and 
justice will at last prevail. I hope I shall be able to get 
down to see you and Rob during the next vacation. I 
shall then have a more correct apprehension of existing 
circumstances, and can follow your progress more satis- 
factorily. I was very much obliged to you for the nice 
eye-glasses you sent me Xmas, and asked your mother 
and the girls to thank you for them, which I hope they 
did. I fear they are too nice for my present circumstances, 


and do not think you ought to spend anything, except on 
your farm, until you get that in a prosperous condition. 
We have all, now, to confine ourselves strictly to our 
necessities. . . . While you are your own manager 
you can carry on cultivation on a large scale with com- 
paratively less expense than on a small scale, and your 
profits will of course be greater. I would commence a 
system of progressive improvement which would improve 
your land and add steadily to your income. I have 
received, lately, from Fitz Lee a narrative of the opera- 
tions of his division of cavalry. I requested Custis to 
write to you for a report of your operations during the 
winter of 1863-4 down to April 18, 1865. How are you 
progressing with it? I know the difficulties of making 
such a narrative at this time; still, by correspondence 
with your officers, and by exerting your own memory, 
much can be done, and it will help me greatly in my 
undertaking. Make it as full as you can, embracing all 
circumstances bearing on the campaigns affecting your 
operations and illustrating the conduct of your division. 
I hope you will be able to get up to see us this spring or 
summer. Select the time when you can best absent 
yourself, that you may feel the freer and enjoy yourself 
the more. ... I wish I were nearer to you all. 
. . . Your mother is about the same, busy with her 
needle and her pen, and as cheerful as ever. 

" Affectionately your father, R. E. Lee. 

''General Wm. H. F. Lee." 

His desire for accounts from his officers of the move- 
ments of their commands shows he still intended to 
attempt to write his campaigns with the Army of Northern 
Virginia, Some months later he writes again to my 
brother, and in it he alludes to the dark cloud of the 
"reconstruction" days, hanging then over the South: 

"Lexington, Virginia, June 8, 1867. 
"My Dear Son: Your letter written on your birthday 
has been welcomed by the whole family, and I assure you 


that we reciprocate your regrets at the distance which 
separates us. Although the future is still dark, and the 
prospects gloomy, I am confident that, if we all unite 
in doing our duty, and earnestly work to extract what 
good we can out of the evil that now hangs over our dear 
land, the time is not distant when the angry cloud will 
be lifted from our horizon and the sun in his pristine 
brightness again shine forth. I, therefore, can anticipate 
for you many years of happiness and prosperity, and in 
my daily prayers to the God of mercy and truth I invoke 
His choicest blessings upon you. May He gather you 
under the shadow of His almighty wing, direct you in all 
your ways, and give you peace and everlasting life. It 
would be most pleasant to my feelings could I again, as 
you propose, gather you all around me, but I fear that 
will not be in this world. Let us all so live that we may 
be united in that world where there is no more separation, 
and where sorrow and pain never come. I think after 
next year I will have done all the good I can for the 
college, and I should then like, if peace is restored to 
the country, to retire to some quiet spot, east of the 
mountains, where I might prepare a home for your 
mother and sisters after my death, and where I could 
earn my daily bread. We will talk of it when we meet. 
This summer I wish to carry your mother to some of the 
mineral springs where she might obtain some relief, but 
it is hard to know where that can be found. She seems 
now to prefer White Sulphur, merely on the ground, I be- 
lieve, that she has never tried those waters, and, therefore, 
they might be of service to her. If she makes up her mind 
to go, I will endeavour to get her there with one of the 
girls, at least. Mildred has returned to us, looking very 
well, and says she has had a very pleasant tour among 
her friends, and has received a great deal of kindness 
wherever she has been. She seems to be very contented 
now at home. I think you did right to defer your visit 
to us until you had more leisure. I am glad your pros- 
pects for a harvest are so good. Every one must look 


to his material interests now, as labour is our only re- 
source. The completion of the railroad to the Pamunkey 
will be a great advantage to you in getting to market 
what you make, and I hope you will put everything to 
account. I hope Robert is doing well. Mary is in 
Staunton, where she went a week since to attend Miss 
Stribling's wedding. . . . Miss Mary Stewart is 
staying with us, and I believe is to remain until July, when 
her sister Belle is to join her. The examination of the 
students has been progressing a week and will continue 
until the 20th. The young men have, so far, done very 
well on the whole. . . . Mr. Swinton has paid his 
visit. He seemed to be gentlemanly, but I derive no 
pleasure from my interviews with book-makers. I have 
either to appear uncivil, or run the risk of being dragged 
before the public. ... I am, 

"Always as ever, your father, R. E. Lee. 
" General Wm. H. Fitzhugh Lee." 

The Pamunkey was the name of the river on which 
the White House, my brother's estate, was situated. 
The railroad from Richmond, torn up during the war, 
had just been rebuilt to that point. Swinton was the 
historian of the Federal Army of the Potomac. He 
spent some days in Lexington, and, I suppose, sought 
from my father information on points connected with 
his history of the movements of General Grant's army. 

My father, as I have said before, commenced almost as 
soon as he became the president of the college to im- 
prove the grounds, roads, walks, fences, etc., and syste- 
matically kept up this work up to the time of his death. 
The walks about the college grounds were in a very bad 
condition, and, in wet weather, often ankle-deep in mud. 
As a first step toward improving them the president had 
a quantity of limestone broken up and spread upon the 
roads and walks. The rough, jagged surface was most 


uninviting, and horsemen and footmen naturally took to 
the grass. Seeing Colonel T. L. Preston riding one day 
across the campus on his way to his classes at the Virginia 
Military Institute, my father remarked : 

"Ah, Colonel, I have depended upon you and your 
big sorrel to help smooth down my walks ! " 

Another day, a student who was walking on the grass 
saw the General not far away, and immediately stepped 
into the middle of the rocks, upon which he manfully 
trudged along. A strange lady, going in the same 
direction, followed in the student's footsteps, and when 
the youth came within speaking distance, my father, 
with a twinkle in his eye, thanked him for setting so 
good an example, and added, " The ladies do not generally 
take kindly to my walks." 

The buildings also were altered and renovated, so far 
as funds for the purpose permitted. He urged the erec- 
tion as soon as possible of a chapel, which should be of 
dimensions suitable for the demands of the college. There 
were other objects calling for a far greater outlay of money 
than the resources of the college afforded, but he deemed 
this of great importance, and succeeded in getting ap- 
propriations for it first. He hastened the selection of 
the site and the drawing of the plans. The completion 
of the work was much retarded owing to the want of funds, 
but his interest in its erection never flagged. He gave 
it his personal superintendence from first to last, visiting 
it often two or three times a day. After it was dedicated, 
he always attended morning prayers and all other religious 
exercises held there, unless prevented by sickness. 
Whenever I was there on a visit I always went with him 
every morning to chapel. He had a certain seat which 
he occupied, and you could have kept your watch regu- 


lated by the time he entered the doors. As he thought 
well of the young men who left his drawing-room by ten 
o'clock, so he placed in a higher estimate those who 
attended chapel regularly, especially if they got there 
in proper time. There was no regular chaplain, but the 
ministers of the different denominations who had churches 
in the village undertook, by turns, to perform a month's 


service. The hour was forty-five minutes past seven 
o'clock every morning, except Sunday, during the 
session, save in the three winter months, December, 
January, and February, when it was one hour later. He 
was the earnest friend and strong supporter of the Young 
Men's Christian Association, and an annual contributor 
to its funds. Upon one occasion, at least, he placed in 
its library a collection of suitable books, which he had 
purchased with that intention. In his annual reports to 
the trustees, he always made mention of the association, 
giving an account of its operations and progress. 


Mountain Rides 

an incident about " traveller" the general's 

love for children — his friendship for ex- 
president davis — a ride with his daughter to 

the peaks of otter — mildred lee's narrative 

mrs. lee at the white sulphur springs — the 

great attention paid her husband there his 

idea of life 

Since the arrival of "Lucy Long" my father was 
generally accompanied by one of my sisters in his rides, 
whenever the weather and the condition of the roads 
admitted of their going. It took very severe weather to 
keep him in, though often he could not spare the time, 
for during the winter months the days were very short. 
Every Monday afternoon there was a faculty meeting, 
and the vestry meetings of his church were held two 
or three times a month. Whenever I was in Lexington 
I rode with him, and when he was prevented by any of 
the above-mentioned causes he would ask me to take 
Traveller out and give him a gallop, which I was delighted 
to do, and I think I had my- revenge for his treatment of 
me on that ride from Orange to Fredericksburg in the 
winter of 1862. My father's affection for his horses 
was very deep and strong. In a letter written from 
the Springs one summer, to his clerk in Lexington, 
he says: 



"How is Traveller? Tell him I miss him dreadfully, 
and have repented of our separation but once — and that 
is the whole time since we parted." 

I think Traveller appreciated his love and sympathy, 
and returned it as much as was in a horse's nature to do. 
As illustrative of this bond between them, a very pretty 
story was told me by Mrs. S. P. Lee * : 

"One afternoon in July of this year, the General rode 
down to the canal-boat landing to put on board a young 
lady who had been visiting his daughters and was re- 
turning home. He dismounted, tied Traveller to a post, 
and was standing on the boat making his adieux, when 
some one called out that Traveller was loose. Sure 
enough, the gallant gray was making his way up the 
road, increasing his speed as a number of boys and men 
tried to stop him. My father immediately stepped 
ashore, called to the crowd to stand still, and advancing 
a few steps gave a peculiar low whistle. At the first 
sound, Traveller stopped and pricked up his ears. The 
General whistled a second time, and the horse with a 
glad whinny turned and trotted quietly back to his 
master, who patted and coaxed him before tying him up 
again. To a bystander expressing surprise at the 
creature's docility the General observed that he did not 
see how any man could ride a horse for any length of 
time without a perfect understanding being established 
between them. My sister Mildred, who rode with him 
constantly this summer, tells me of his enjoyment of 
their long rides out into the beautiful, restful country. 
Nothing seemed to delight him so much. 

" I have often known him to give rein to Traveller and 

* Daughter of General W. N. Pendleton, Chief of Artillery of the 
A. N. Va., and widow of Colonel Edwin Grey Lee, C. S. A. 


go at full speed to the top of some long hill, then turn and 
wait for me jogging along on Lucy, calling out with 
merry voice, ' Come along, Miss Lucy, Miss Lucy, Lucy 
Long ! ' He would question the country people about the 
roads, where they came from, where they led to, and soon 
knew every farmer's name and every homestead in the 
county. He often said : 

" ' I wish I had a little farm of my own, where we could 
live in peace to the end of our days. You girls could 
attend to the dairy and the cows and the sheep and wait 
on your mother and me, for it is time now for us old 
people to rest and for the young people to work.' " 

All the children in the country around were devoted 
to him, and felt no hesitation in approaching him, after 
they once knew him. He used to meet his favourites 
among the little ones on the street, and would sometimes 
lift them up in front of him to give them a ride on Traveller. 
That was the greatest treat he could provide. There is 
a very pretty story told of Virginia Lee Letcher, his god- 
daughter, and her baby sister, Fannie, which is yet 
remembered among the Lexington people. Jennie had 
been followed by her persistent sister, and all the coaxing 
and the commanding of the six-year-old failed to make 
the younger return home. Fannie had sat down by the 
roadside to pout, when General Lee came riding by. 
Jennie at once appealed to him: 

" General Lee, won't you please make this child go 
home to her mother?" 

The General immediately rode over to where Fannie 
sat, leaned over from his saddle and drew her up into his 
lap. There she sat in royal contentment, and was thus 
grandly escorted home. When Mrs. Letcher inquired 


of Jennie why she had given General Lee so much trouble, 
she received the naive reply : 

"I couldn't make Fan go home, and I thought he 
could do anything." * 

There was a little boy living with his mother, who had 
come from New York. His father had been killed in 
our army. The little fellow, now Colonel Grier Monroe, 
of New York city, was much teased at his playmates 
calling him "Yankee" when he knew he was not one. 
One day he marched into my father's office in the college, 
stated his case, and asked for redress. 

" The next boy that calls you ' Yankee ' send him to me, ' ' 
said the General, which, when reported, struck such 
terror into the hearts of his small comrades that the 
offense was never repeated. 

There was another little boy who was accustomed to 
clamber up by the side of my father at the morning 
chapel exercises, and was so kindly treated that, when- 
ever he saw his distinguished friend, he straightway 
assumed a position beside him. At the college commence- 
ment, which was held in the chapel, the little fellow 
glided from his mother's side and quietly stole up to the 
platform. Soon he was nestled at the feet of the dignified 
president, and, resting his head upon his knees, dropped 
asleep. General Lee tenderly remained without moving, 
preferring to suffer from the constrained position rather 
than disturb the innocent slumberer. This boy is 
now the Reverend Carter Jones of the Baptist Church. 

About this time Ex-President Davis was freed from 
the confinement of his prison at Fortress Monroe, where 
he had been for about two years. There was a warm 

* Daughters of Governor John Letcher — the War Governor of 


personal friendship between these two men, dating from 
the time they were cadets at West Point together, and 
as his unjust and unnecessary imprisonment had pained 
and distressed none more than my father, so his release 
gave him corresponding joy. He at once wrote to him 
the following letter, full of feeling and sympathy : 

"Lexington, Virginia, June i, 1867. 
" Honourable Jefferson Davis. 

" My Dear Mr. Davis: You can conceive better than I 
can express the misery which your friends have suffered 
from your long imprisonment, and the other afflictions 
incident thereto. To no one has this been more painful 
than to me, and the impossibility of affording relief has 
added to my distress. Your release has lifted a load 
from my heart which I have not words to tell. My daily 
prayer to the great Ruler of the world is that He may 
shield you from all future harm, guard you from all evil, 
and give you that peace which the world cannot take 
away. That the rest of your days may be triumphantly 
happy is the sincere and earnest wish of 

" Your most obedient, faithful friend and servant, 

"R. E. Lee." 

Though my father would take no part in the politics 
of the country, and rarely expressed his views on ques- 
tions of that nature then occupying the minds of all, 
nevertheless, when he deemed it necessary, and to the 
proper person, he very plainly said what he thought. 
The following letter to General Longstreet, in answer 
to one from him written about this time, illustrates what 
I have said in this connection, and explains itself: 

"Lexington, Virginia, October 29, 1867. 
"General J. Longstreet, 

"21 Carondelet Street, New Orleans, La. 
" My Dear General: When I received your letter of the 
8th of June, I had just returned from a short trip to 


Bedford County, and was preparing for a more extended 
visit to the White Sulphur Springs for the benefit of Mrs. 
Lee's health. As I could not write such a letter as you 
desired, and as you stated that you would leave New 
Orleans for Mexico in a week from the time you wrote, 
to be absent some months, I determined to delay my 
reply till my return. Although I have been here more 
than a month, I have been so occupied by necessary 
business, and so incommoded by the effects of an attack of 
illness, from which I have not yet recovered, that this 
is the first day that I have been able to write to you. 
I have avoided all discussion of political questions since 
the cessation of hostilities, and have, in my own conduct, 
and in my recommendations to others, endeavoured to 
conform to existing circumstances. I consider this the 
part of wisdom, as well as of duty ; but, while I think we 
should act under the law and according to the law im- 
posed upon us, I cannot think the course pursued by the 
dominant political party the best for the interests of the 
country, and therefore cannot say so or give it my 
approval. This is the reason why I could not comply 
with the request in your letter. I am of the opinion that 
all who can should vote for the most intelligent, honest, 
and conscientious men eligible to office, irrespective of 
former party opinions, who will endeavour to make the 
new constitutions and the laws passed under them as 
beneficial as possible to the true interests, prosperity, 
and liberty of all classes and conditions of the people. 
With my best wishes for your health and happpiness, 
and my kindest regards to Mrs. Longs tree t and your 
children, I am, with great regard, and very truly and 
sincerely yours, 

"R. E. Lee." 

This summer my father paid a visit to the Peaks of 
Otter, a famous group of mountains in the Blue Ridge 
range, situated in Bedford County, Virginia. He rode 
Traveller, and my sister Mildred accompanied him on 


"Lucy Long." After visiting the Peaks and ascending 
the summit, which is 4,000 feet in height, he rode on to 
Liberty, now Bedford City, ten miles distant, and spent 
the night at "Avenel," the home of the Burwells, who 
were friends and connections of his. 

From there the riding party went to Captain Buford's, 
about twelve miles distant, where they spent the night 
and the next day. The Captain was a farmer, a great 
admirer and a staunch upholder of his native State, 
Virginia, in her fight for constitutional liberty, from 
'61 to '65. He had sent his sons into the army, and had 
given of his substance freely to support the troops, as 
well as the poor and needy, the widow and orphan, 
who had been left in want by the death in battle of their 
natural protectors and by the ravages of war. In the 
early years of the struggle, my mother and sisters, when 
" refugeeing, " had boarded, as they thought and intended 
at the time, at his home. But when they tried to induce 
him to accept pay for the shelter and food he had given 
them for a month or more, he sternly refused. His was 
a patriotism that hesitated at no sacrifice, and was of a 
kind and character that admitted of no self -consideration. 
This trait, so strongly developed in him, attracted the 
admiration and respect of my father. The visit he paid 
him was to thank him in person for the kindness extended 
to his wife and daughters, and also for a very large and 
handsome horse which he had sent my father the last 
year, I think, of the war. My sister Mildred tells me 
what she can recollect of this ride. It is a source of 
endless regret to us that we cannot recall more. His 
companionship was at all times delightful to his children, 
and on an occasion of this kind, invigorated by the exer- 


cise, inspired by the bright skies and relieved of all 
harassing cares, he became almost a boy again. 
My sister Mildred says: 

"We started at daybreak one perfect June day, papa 
on Traveller, I on Lucy Long, our saddle-bags being our 
only luggage. He was in the gayest humour, laughing 
and joking with me as I paced along by his side on quiet 
'Miss Lucy.' Traveller seemed to sympathise with his 
master, his springy step, high head, and bright eye 
clearly showing how happy he was and how much interest 
he took in this journey. He had to be constantly chided 
for his restlessness, and was told that it would be well for 
him to reserve some of his too abundant energy for the 
latter part of his trip. At midday we dismounted, and, 
tying our horses while resting on the soft grass under a 
wild-plum hedge by the roadside, ate our lunch. We 
then rode on, and soon came to the James River, which 
was crossed by a ferry-boat. The ferry-man was an 
old soldier, who of course recognised papa, and refused 
payment ; nor could he be induced to take any. Further 
on the road, as our horses were climbing a steep rocky 
ascent, we met some little children, with very dirty 
faces, playing on the roadside. He spoke to them in his 
gentle, playful way, alluding to their faces and the desira- 
bility of using a little water. They stared at us with 
open-eyed astonishment, and then scampered off up the 
hill ; a few minutes later, in rounding this hill, we passed 
a little cabin, when out they all ran with clean faces, 
fresh aprons, and their hair nicely brushed, one little girl 
exclaiming, ' We know you are General Lee ! we have got 
your picture ! ' 

"That night about nine o'clock we reached the little 
mountain inn at the foot of the Peaks, ate a hearty supper, 
and soon went to bed, tired out by our thirty-mile ride. 
Our bedrooms seemed to be a loft, and the beds were of 
feathers, but I, at least, slept without turning. Next 
morning, at dawn of day, we set out, accompanied by 


the master of the house, and rode for a long time up the 
mountain-side, Lucy following closely behind Traveller. 
Finally it became impossible to proceed further on horse- 
back, so the horses were fastened to some trees and we 
climbed the rest of the way to the summit on foot. When 
the top was reached, we sat for a long time on a great 
rock, gazing down on the glorious prospect beneath. 
Papa spoke but a few words, and seemed very sad. I 
have heard there is now a .mark on that rock showing 
where he sat. The inn-keeper, who accompanied us all 
the way, told us that we had ridden nearer the top than 
any other persons up to that time. Regaining our 
horses, we proceeded on our second day's journey, which 
was to end at Liberty, some ten miles distant. 

" We had not ridden far, when suddenly a black thun- 
der-cloud arose and in a few minutes a heavy shower 
broke over us. We galloped back to a log cabin we had 
just passed. Papa lifted me off of Lucy and, dripping 
with water, I rushed in, while he led the horse under an 
adjacent shed. The woman of the house looked dark and 
glum on seeing the pools of water forming from my dress 
on her freshly scoured floor, and when papa came in with 
his muddy boots her expression was more forbidding and 
gloomy. He asked her permission to wait there until 
the shower was over, and praised her nice white floor, 
regretting that we had marred its beauty. At this 
praise, so becomingly bestowed, she was slightly appeased, 
and asked us into the best room, which was adorned with 
colored prints of Lee, Jackson, Davis, and Johnston. 
When the shower ceased and papa went out for the horses 
I told her who he was. Poor woman ! She seemed 
stunned, and kept on saying : ' What will Joe say ? What 
will Joe say !' Joe was her husband, and had been, like 
every other man in the country, a soldier in the 'Army 
of Northern Virginia.' 

"The shower over and the sun shining brightly, we 
rode along joyously through the refreshed hills and dust- 
laid roads, arriving at Liberty in good time, and went 


to 'Avenel,' the pretty home of the Burwells. The 
comforts of this sweet old place seemed very delicious to 
me after my short experience of roughing it. Papa was 
much amused when I appeared in crinoline, my 'hoops' 
having been squeezed into the saddle-bags and brought 
with me. We remained here the next day, Sunday, and the 
day after rode on some twelve miles to Captain Buford's. 
The Captain, in his shirt-sleeves, received us with open 
arms, seemed much surprised at my full growth, and 
said, 'Why, General, you called her your 'little girl,' and 
she is a real chunk of a gal ! ' He showed us his fine 
Jersey cattle, his rich fields and well-filled barns, and 
delighted in talking of the time during the war when 
mama, Mary, and Agnes paid him a visit. He over- 
flowed with kindness and hospitality, and his table fairly 
groaned with the good things. Papa afterwards con- 
stantly quoted his original sayings, especially one on 
early rising, which was made on the eve of our arrival, 
when he told us good-night. Papa asked him what time 
he must be ready for breakfast next morning. 

"'Well, General,' said the Captain, 'as you have been 
riding hard, and as you are company, we will not have 
breakfast to-morrow until sun-up,' which meant in those 
June days somewhere before five o'clock. 

"After a day spent pleasantly here, we started next 
morning early on our return. Halting for a short time 
in Buchanan, we stopped at Colonel Edmund Pendleton's, 
who then lived there in an imposing white pillared edifice, 
formerly a bank. Mrs. Pendleton gave us some delicious 
apricots from her garden, which my father enjoyed 
greatly. We then proceeded on the road to Lexington, 
going by the Natural Bridge, where we had another short 
rest, and reached home the same night, about ten o'clock, 
after a forty -mile ride. 

" Shortly after this visit Captain Buford sent me a fine 
Jersey cow, on condition that I would get up early every 
morning and milk her, and also send him a part of the 
butter I made." 


After my father returned from this trip, he began his 
arrangements for taking my mother to the Greenbrier 
White Sulphur Springs. He hoped that the waters and 
the change might be of service to her general health, 
even if they should not alleviate the severity of her 
rheumatic pains. 

About the first of July, my mother, sister Agnes and 
Miss Mary Pendleton, with my brother Custis in charge, 
set out for the White Sulphur Springs. My father, with 
Professor J. J. White, decided to make the journey to the 
same place on horseback. They started a day in advance, 
and were at Covington when the ladies, travelling by 
stage-coach to Goshen, thence by rail, arrived there. 
After spending the night at Covington, the passengers 
were put into as many stage-coaches as were necessary, 
and the long, rough drive over the mountains by " Calla- 
han's" commenced. 

General Lee on Traveller was at once recognised, and 
when it was found out by his fellow-travellers that Mrs. 
Lee was with him, attentions and services of all kinds 
were pressed on her party, and a most enjoyable lunch 
was sent to the stage reserved for her. Seeing that the 
other stages were much crowded, while the one reserved 
for his wife had vacant seats, my father insisted that 
some of the others should join his party, which they 
very gladly did. He and Professor White went ahead of 
the stages on their horses. 

At the White Sulphur Springs the " Harrison Cottage, " 
in "Baltimore Row," had been put at my father's dis- 
posal, and the entire party was soon most pleasantly 
established there. Mr. W. W. Corcoran, of Washington, 
Professor White, Miss Mary Pendleton, Agnes, and my 
father and brother had a table together. Almost every 


day some special dainty was sent to this table. My 
mother, of course, had her meals served in her cottage. 
Her faithful and capable servant, Milly Howard, was 
always most eager for her to appear at her best, and took 
great pride in dressing her up, so far as she was allowed, 
in becoming caps, etc., to receive her numerous visitors. 
My father's usual custom while there was to spend some 
time in the morning in the large parlour of the hotel, 
before taking his ride on Traveller. After dinner he 
went again to the parlour, and also after tea. 

Among the company were many old friends and ac- 
quaintances from Baltimore, who could not sufficiently 
testify their pleasure in this renewal of intercourse. 
Whenever he appeared in parlour or ballroom he was 
the centre of attraction, and in vain the young men tried 
to engage the attention of the young ladies when General 
Lee was present. 

During his visit, a circus came to "Dry Creek," a 
neighbouring settlement, and gave an exhibition. The 
manager rode over to the Springs, came to my father's 
cottage, and insisted on leaving several tickets, begging 
that General Lee would permit him to send carriages 
for him and any friends he might like to take to his show. 
These offers my father courteously declined, but bought 
many tickets, which he presented to his little friends at 
the Springs. 

During the morning he rode over to "Dry Creek," 
where the crowds of country people, many of them his 
old soldiers, feasted their eyes on him to the neglect of 
the circus. That night a special exhibition was given by 
the manager to General Lee's friends, who were taken to 
seats draped with Confederate colors, red, and white. 
After the return from the circus, my father invited a 


large party to his cottage to partake of a huge watermelon 
sent him by express from Mobile. It weighed about 
sixty pounds, and its producer thought the only fitting 
way he could dispose of it was to present it to General Lee. 

Every possible attention that love, admiration, and 
respect could prompt was paid my father by the guests 
at the Springs, each one seeming anxious to do him 
homage. My mother and sister shared it all with him, 
for any attention and kindness shown them went straight 
to his heart. 

After spending three weeks at " the White," my father's 
party went to the Old Sweet Springs, where they were all 
made very comfortable, one of the parlours being turned 
into a bedroom for my mother, so that in her wheeled 
chair she could go out on the verandas and into the ball- 

He was taken quite sick there, and, though he rode over 
from the White Sulphur Springs, was unable to continue 
his early rides for some time. His room was on the first 
floor, with a window opening on the end of the build- 
ing. One morning, when he was very unwell and it 
was important that he should not be disturbed, Miss 
Pendleton found a countryman cautiously opening the 
shutters from the outside. She quickly interfered, 
saying : 

"Go away; that is General Lee's room." 

The man dropped back, saying mournfully: 

"I only wanted to see him." 

On another occasion some country people came to the 
Springs with plums and berries for sale. Catching sight 
of him on the piazza, they put down their baskets, took 
off their hats, and hurrahed most lustily for "Marse 
Bob." They were his old soldiers. When he acknowl- 


edged their loyalty by shaking hands with them, they 
insisted on presenting him with their fruit. 

About the first week in September my father rode 
back to Lexington on Traveller, Custis taking my mother 
and Agnes back over the same tedious journey by stage 
and rail. 

There have been preserved very few letters from him 
at this time. I find one to me, full of kindness, whole- 
some advice, and offers of aid, in which he sends his 
thanks to the President of the York River Railroad for 
a courtesy tendered him: 

"White Sulphur Springs, 
"Greenbrier County, West Virginia, 

"August 5, 1867. 
"My Dear Son: I received to-day your letter of the 
28th ult., inclosing a free ticket over the Richmond & 
York River Railroad, from its president, Mr. Dudley. 
Please present him my grateful thanks for this mark of 
his esteem. I am very glad to hear that the road is 
completed to the White House, and that a boat connects 
it with Norfolk. The convenience of the community 
and the interests of the road will be promoted thereby. 
It is a difficult undertaking in these times to build a road, 
and I hope the company will soon be able to finish it to 
West Point. I suppose you have received before this 
the letter from your mother and Agnes, announcing our 
arrival at this place and informing you of the company. 
The latter has been much increased, and among the ar- 
rivals are the Daingerfields, Haxalls, Capertons, Miss Belle 
Harrison, etc., etc. I told Agnes to tell you how much we 
wished you were with us, and as an inducement for you 
to join us, if you could leave home, if you would come, I 
would pay your expenses. I feel very sensibly, in my 
old age, the absence of my children, though I recognise 
the necessity of every one's attending to his business, and 
admire him the more for so doing. I am very glad that 


you and Fitzhugh have, so far, escaped the fever, and 
hope you may avoid it altogether. Be prudent. I am 
very sorry that your harvest promises a poor yield. It 
will be better next year, but you must continue system- 
atically the improvement of the land. I know of no 
better method than by liming, and if you wish to pros- 
ecute it, and are in need of help, I will aid you to the 
extent of last year or more. So make your arrangements, 
and let me know your wishes. A farmer's life is one of 
labour, but it is also one of pleasure, and the conscious- 
ness of steady improvement, though it may be slow, is 
very encouraging. I think you had better also begin to 
make arrangements to build yourself a house. If you 
can do nothing more than prepare a site, lay out a garden, 
orchard, etc., and get a small house partly finished, so as 
to inhabit it, it will add to your comfort and health. I 
can help you in that too. Think about it. Then, too, 
you must get a nice wife. I do not like you being so 
lonely. I fear you will fall in love with celibacy. I 
have heard some very pleasing reports of Fitzhugh. I 
hope that his desires, if beneficial to his happiness, may 
be crowned with success. I saw the lady when I was 
in Petersburg, and was much pleased with her. I will 
get Agnes or your mother to tell you what occurs at the 
Springs. There are some 500 people here, very pleasant 
and kind, but most of my time is passed alone 
with Traveller in the mountains. I hope your mother 
may derive some benefit from the waters, but I see none 
now. It will, at least, afford her some variety, and give 
her some pleasure, of which there is a dearth with us 
now. Give much love to Fitzhugh. All unite in love 
to you. God bless you, my son, prays 
"Your affectionate father, 

"R. E. Lee." 

Early in September my father sent my mother and sis- 
ter home to Lexington, while he mounted Traveller and 
rode back by way of the Hot Springs, Healing, and Rock- 
bridge Alum. He was detained by indisposition a day or 


two at the Healing, and writes to my mother a little note 
from that place: 

" Healing Springs, September 12, 1867. 
"My Dear Mary: I arrived here on the 10th, and had 
expected to resume my journey this morning, but did not 
feel able. Should nothing prevent, I will leave here 
to-morrow, but I fear I shall not be able to reach the 
Rockbridge Alum, which I am told is twenty-nine miles 
distant. In that event, I will halt on the road, and arrive 
there on Saturday, lie over Sunday, and reach Lexington 
on Monday. I am very anxious to get to Lexington, and 
think nothing on the route will benefit me, as I feel much 
concerned about the resumption of the college exercises. 
Mr. John Stewart, Misses Mary and Marian, Mr. Price and 
his daughters came over from the Hot yesterday to see 
me. The Stewarts are there on Miss Belle's account. 
Give much love to everybody. I hope you reached 
Lexington safely and comfortably and that all are well. 
I hope to see you Monday. Till then, farewell. 
"Very truly and affectionately, 

"R. E. Lee." 

It is to be regretted that we have no accounts of these 
rides, the people he met, and what he said to them, where 
he stayed, and who were his hosts. He was very fond of 
horseback journeys, enjoyed the quiet and rest, the free- 
dom of mind and body, the close sympathy of his old war- 
horse, and the beauties of Nature which are to be seen at 
every turn in the mountains of Virginia. Ah, if we could 
only obtain some records of his thoughts as he rode all 
alone along the mountain roads, how much it would help 
us all in our trials and troubles ! He was a man of few 
words, very loath to talk about himself, nor do I believe 
any one ever knew what that great heart suffered. His 
idea of life was to do his duty, at whatever cost, and to 
try to help others do theirs. 


An Adviser of Young Men 

lee's policy as college president — his advice on 

agricultural matters his affection for his 

prospective daughter-in-law fitzhugh's wed- 
ding the general's ovation at petersburg 

his personal interest in the students under 


The college exercises were resumed in the last weeks of 
September. My mother and sisters were all back at 
home. The President's work, now more in hand, began 
to show results. The number of students this session was 
largely increased and the outlook of the college was very 
much brighter. 

" He had from the beginning of his presidency a distinct 
policy and plan which he had fully conceived and to which 
he steadily adhered, so that all his particular measures of 
progress were but consistent steps in its development. 
His object was nothing less than to establish and perfect 
an institution which should meet the highest needs of 
education in every department. At once, and without 
waiting for the means to be provided in advance, he pro- 
ceeded to develop this object. Under his advice, new 
chairs were created, and professors called to fill them, so 
that before the end of the first year the faculty was dou- 
K1 ^d in numbers. Still additional chairs were created, and 
Anally a complete system of ' schools ' was established and 
orought into full operation. So admirably was the plan 



conceived and administered by General Lee, that, hetero- 
geneous as were the students, especially in the early 
years, each one found his proper place, and all were kept 
in line of complete and systematic study. Under this 
organisation, and especially under the inspiration of his 
central influence, the utmost harmony and utmost energy 
pervaded all the departments of the college. The highest 
powers of both professors and students were called forth, 
under the fullest responsibility. The standards of scholar- 
ship were rapidly advanced; and soon the graduates of 
Washington College were the acknowledged equals of 
those from the best institutions elsewhere, and were 
eagerly sought after for the highest positions as teachers 
in the best schools. The results . . . were due 
directly and immediately, more than to all other causes, 
to the personal ability and influence of General Lee as 
president of the college." 

So wrote Professor Edward S. Joynes in an article pub- 
lished soon after General Lee's death, in the University 
Monthly. All of this had not been accomplished as yet, 
but the work was well advanced, and the results began to 
be evident. His health had not been strong since the 
middle of the summer, but he never ceased in his en- 
deavour to better the condition of the college, and to 
improve the minds, morals, and bodies of the young men 
committed to his charge. He writes to me about this 
time, encouraging me to renewed efforts, telling me how 
to better my condition, and advising me not to be cast 
down by difficulties: 

"Lexington, Virginia, October 26, 1867. 
"My Dear Rob: Your letter of the 10th did not give 
me a very favourable account of yourself or your pros- 
pects, but I have no doubt it was true and therefore com- 
mendable. We must not, however, yield to difficulties, 
but strive the harder to overcome them. I am sorry for 



the failure of your crops, your loneliness and uncom- 
fortableness, and wish it were in my power to visit you 
and advise with you. But you must come up this winter, 
when convenient, and we will discuss the whole matter. 
Fitzhugh, I hope, will be married soon, and then he will 
have more time to counsel with you. I hope, between you 
two, you will devise some mode of relief. The only way to 
improve your crop is to improve your land, which requires 
time, patience, and good cultivation. Lime, I think, is one 
of the chief instruments, and I advise you to apply that 
systematically and judiciously. I think, too, you had 
better purchase another pair of mules. I can help you 
in these items, and, if you need, can advance you $500. 
Then, as regards a house, I can help you in that too, but 
you must first select a site and a plan. The first can only 
be found on the land, and the latter might be adopted on 
the progressive principle, commencing with the minor 
members, and finishing with the principal ones as con- 
venience or necessity might authorise. If no better can 
be found, how would the present site answer? If you 
are going to cultivate the lower part of the farm, it would 
at least have the advantage of convenience, or if you 
thought it better to divide and sell your farm it would 
answer for one of the divisions. I am clear for your mar- 
rying, if you select a good wife ; otherwise you had better 
remain as you are for a time. An imprudent or uncon- 
genial woman is worse than the minks * I think, upon 
the whole, you are progressing very well and have accom- 
plished the worst part. A failure in crops will occur occa- 
sionally to every farmer, even the best, with favourable 
surroundings. It serves a good purpose, inculcates pru- 
dence and economy, and excites energy and perseverance. 
These qualities will overcome everything. You are very 
young still, and if you are virtuous and laborious you 
will accomplish all the good you propose to yourself. 
Let me know if you want the money. We are pretty 
well. I am better and your poor mother more comforta- 

*I had written to him that they had destroyed all my hens. 


ble, I think, than she was last year. The girls are as 
usual, and Custis is in far better health than he was before 
his visit to the Springs. He seems, however, not happy, 
and I presume other people have their troubles as well as 
farmers. God bless you, my son, and may He guard, 
guide, and direct you in all you do. All would unite in 
love did they know I was writing. 

"Truly and affectionately, your father, 

"R. E. Lee. 
" Robert E. Lee, Jr." 

My brother Fitzhugh was to be married that autumn. 
This event, so soon to take place, gave my father great 
pleasure. He was an earnest advocate of matrimony, 
and was constantly urging his sons to take to themselves 
wives. With his daughters he was less pressing. Though 
apparently always willing to have another daughter, he 
did not seem to long for any more sons. He thus writes 
to my brother when his engagement was formally an- 
nounced to him: 

" Lexington, Virginia, September 20, 1867. 
" My Dear Fitzhugh: I have been anxious for some time 
to write to you, to express the pleasure I have felt at the 
prospects of your marriage with Miss Boiling; but sick- 
ness has prevented, and I am still so feeble that I cannot 
attend to the pressing business connected with the col- 
lege. As you know how deeply I feel all that concerns 
you, you may feel assured of the pleasure I derived from 
your letter to your mother informing her of your engage- 
ment. I have the most pleasing recollection of ' Miss 
Tabb,' and of her kindness to me, and now that she has 
consented to be my daughter the measure of my gratitude 
is filled to overflowing. I hope she will not delay the con- 
summation, for I want to see her very much, and I fear 
she will not come to see me until then. You must present 
her my warm love, and you both must accept my earnest 


prayers and most fervent wishes for your future happiness 
and prosperity. I am glad that your house is progressing 
and that your crops promise well. I hope that you soon 
will be able to come and see us. Your mother, I hope, 
has derived some benefit from her visit to the Springs. 
Her general health is improved, but I see no relaxation in 
her rheumatic complaint. The girls are quite well, and 
all send love. . . . 

"Your affectionate father, 

"R. E. Lee. 
" General William H. F. Lee." 

The young lady who was so soon to become a member 
of his family was Miss Mary Tabb Boiling, the daughter 
of Mr. G. W. Boiling, of Petersburg, Virginia. Her father 
had been very kind to General Lee during the eventful 
months of the siege of that town, and his daughter had 
been often to see him and was a great favourite of his. 
My brother was especially anxious that his father should 
be present at his wedding, and had been urging him to 
make his arrangements to come. The sickness to which 
he frequently alludes in his recent letters had been annoy- 
ing him since his return from the White Sulphur Springs 
up to this time, and he now writes proposing that my 
brother and bride should come to him instead of his going 
down to the wedding : 

" Lexington, Virginia, October 25, 1867. 
"My Dear Fitzhugh: I have been wishing to write to 
you every day since the reception of your letter of the 6th 
inst., but have been prevented by business and sickness. 
I am delighted that your marriage is so near at hand, and 
it would give me great pleasure to attend, but I do not 
think that I could add to the enjoyment of any one. I 
suppose it will take place in church, according to the pres- 
ent fashion, and I should, see very little of you. I there- 


fore propose that, instead of going directly to the White 
House, you both come up here, and spend as much 
time with us as you can. It will give your house more 
time for completion, and I suppose the pretty bride will 
want to see her old father and mother and what kind of 
people her sisters are. At any rate, I want to see her 
very much, and I should be unable to do so in Petersburg, 
as she would be surrounded by her old beaux and com- 
panions. . . . We shall all be delighted to see you, 
and you may go back as soon as you are tired. Tell me 
what you think of this plan. There is another thing I 
wish you to aid me in — to tell me what agreeable present 
I can make to my daughter to remind her, hereafter, of 
her papa, or if I send you $100 will you get for me some- 
thing she would like ? I have been quite sick lately, but 
am better now. The rest of the family are as usual, and 
your mother, I hope, is more comfortable than she was 
last year. ... I am very glad you have enjoyed 
good health all the summer, and hope that nothing will 
occur to mar the happiness of your wedding or to post- 
pone it. . . . Your devoted father, 

"R. E. Lee." 

My brother, after receiving this, ran up to Lexington 
and paid him a short visit. His next letter shows that 
he had yielded to his wishes and had determined to be 
present at his wedding: 

"Lexington, Virginia, November 15, 1867. 
" My Dear Fitzhugh: I received this morning your let- 
ter of the 13th, and am glad to hear of your safe arrival 
and of the favourable condition of things at your home. 
I was afraid your house would not be ready at the time 
supposed, but I would not delay the wedding on that 
account — you can exist without it. We have one here at 
your service, though a poor one. I am obliged to you for 
having arranged about my clothes. Upon reflection, I 
think it better not to go to the White House and Roman- 


coke before the wedding. You and Robert could hardly 
pay the necessary attention to business matters with your 
hands filled with love and matrimony. I think of catch- 
ing up Rob and marrying him to some of my sweethearts, 
while I am down, so as to prevent the necessity of going 
down again. Custis says it will be inconvenient for him 
to leave here before the time necessary for him to reach 
Petersburg by the 28th, and we have arranged to com- 
mence our journey on Monday night, 25th inst., at 12 m., 
so as to reach Richmond Tuesday evening, remain there 
the 27th and go to Petersburg the 28th. I do not think I 
shall be able to go to the White House at all. I should 
not be able to aid you or Rob, my only object, and would 
put you to much trouble. . . . We are all as you 
left us, and miss you and Mildred very much. 

"Very affectionately, your father, 

"R. E. Lee. 
"General William H. F. Lee." 

So it was all settled satisfactorily; my brother gained 
his point, and my father arranged his affairs so that he 
could absent himself without detriment to his work at the 
college. He left on the appointed day and hour, and the 
morning after arriving in Richmond, writes my mother: 

"Exchange Hotel, Richmond, November 26, 1867. 

"My Dear Mary: We reached here yesterday about 
4 p. m., after a not uncomfortable journey, and found 
Fitzhugh waiting for the important event. I doubt 
whether his house will be finished, from his account, till 
January, though he thinks it will. His plans, I believe, 
as far as he can form them, are to leave Petersburg the 
morning after the wedding for Baltimore, where they 
will probably spend a week gathering up their furniture, 
etc., and after that all is undetermined. I renewed the 
invitation for their visit to us, but he could not decide. 
Robert is expected to-morrow. Mildred is well and seems 
to be perfectly happy, as she had on, last evening, a dress 


about two yards longer than Norvell's. I saw Mr. Davis, 
who looks astonishingly well, and is quite cheerful. He 
inquired particularly after you all. He is at Judge Ould's. 
No one seems to know what is to be done. Judge Chase 
had not arrived yesterday, but it was thought probable 
he would reach here in the ten o'clock train last night. I 
have not heard this morning. I will present myself to 
the court this morning, and learn, I hope, what they wish 
of me. Williams Wickham is here, and will attend the 
wedding. Annie will also go. Fitzhugh is to go out to 
Hickory Hill this morning, and return this afternoon, to 
pay his adieux. Mrs. Caskie was not well last evening. 
The rest as usual, and send much love. Custis is well, 
and I have my clothes. I left my sleeve-buttons in my 
shirt hanging up in my dressing-room. Ask Cornelia to 
to take care of them. Mr. Alexander said he would send 
you up some turkeys, and Colonel Johnston, that he would 
help you revise the manuscript. It is time I should get 
my breakfast, as I wish to transact some business before 
going to court. Give much love to the girls and every- 
body. I hope you are well and will want for nothing 
while I am away. Most truly yours, 

"Mrs. M. C. Lee. R. E. Lee." 

General Lee was summoned this time as a witness in the 
trial of Mr. Davis, but after some delay a nolle prosequi 
was filed. General Lee after the war was asked by a lady 
his opinion of the position and part Mr. Davis had taken 
and acted during the war. He replied : 

" If my opinion is worth anything, you can always say 
that few people could have done better than Mr. Davis. 
I knew of none that could have done as well." 

On the morning after the wedding he writes to my 
mother : 

" Petersburg, November 29, 1867. 
" My Dear Mary: Our son was married last night and 
shone in his happiness. The bride looked lovely and was, 


in every way, captivating. The church was crowded to 
its utmost capacity, and the streets thronged. Every- 
thing went off well, and I will enter into details when I see 
you. Mr. Wickham and Annie, Mr. Fry, John Wood, and 
others were present. Mr. Davis was prevented from at- 
tending by the death of Mrs. Howell. The Misses Haxall, 
Miss Enders, Miss Giles, etc., came down from Richmond. 
Fitzhugh Lee was one of the groomsmen, Custis very com- 
posed, and Rob suffering from chills. Many of my 
acquaintances were present, and everybody was very kind. 
Regrets were often expressed that you, Mary, and Agnes 
were not present. I believe the plan was for the bride 
and groom to start on their travels this morning, but I 
doubt whether it will be carried out, as I thought I saw 
indications of a change of purpose before I left, which I 
had no doubt would be strengthened by the reflections of 
this morning. I shall remain to-day and return to Rich- 
mond to-morrow. I wish to go to Brandon Monday, but 
do not know that I can accomplish it. Until leaving 
Richmond, my whole time was taken up by the august 
court, so that I could do nothing nor see anybody there. 
Mildred was all life, in white and curls. I am staying at 
General Mahone's and have got hold of one of his needle- 
pens, with which I can do nothing. Excuse illegibility. 
No one has descended to breakfast yet. I received, on 
arriving here yesterday, at 3 p. m., a kind note from our 
new daughter asking me to come and see her as soon after 
my arrival as convenient, which I did and carried over 
the necklace, which she pronounced very pretty. Give 
my love to all. Most truly yours, 

"R. E. Lee. 
"Mrs. M. C. Lee." 

A special car carried General Lee and the other wedding 
guests from Richmond to Petersburg. He did not enter 
into the gay conversation of the young people, but ap- 
peared sad and depressed, and seemed to dread seeing the 
town of Petersburg and meeting its people. This feeling 


was dispelled by the enthusiastic welcome given him by 
every one there. General Mahone, whose guest he was 
to be, met him at the depot with a carriage and four 
white horses. Many of the citizens tried to take out 
the horses and pull the carriage into the town, but the 
General protested, declaring, if they did so, he would 
have to get out and help them. The morning after the 
wedding he drove out to "Turnbull's" to see an old 
woman who had been very kind to him, sending him eggs, 
butter, etc., when he had had his headquarters near by 
during the siege. On his return he took lunch at Mr. 
Boiling's, and held an impromptu reception, everybody 
coming in to speak to him. 

That night he went to an entertainment given to the 
bride at Mr. Johnson's. He enjoyed the evening very 
much and expressed his feeling of relief at seeing every one 
so bright and cheerful. He was delighted to find the 
people so prosperous, and to observe that they had it in 
their hearts to be gay and happy. The next morning 
he returned to Richmond. He was escorted to the train 
in the same way in which he had been received. All 
the people turned out to see him leave, and he departed 
amid tremendous cheering. 

My father enjoyed this visit. It had been a success 
in every way. His old friends and soldiers called on 
him in great numbers, all eager to look on his face and 
clasp his hand again. The night of the wedding, the 
streets were filled with crowds anxious to see him once 
more, and many to look on him for the first time. Wher- 
ever he was seen, he was treated with the greatest love, 
admiration, and respect. It was with devotion, deep, 
sincere, and true, mixed with awe and sadness, that they 
beheld their old commander, on foot, in citizen's dress, 


grayer than three years ago, but still the same, passing 
along the ways where he had so often ridden on Traveller, 
with the noise of battle all around. What a change for 
him ; what a difference to them ! But their trust and 
faith in him was as unshaken as ever. A glimpse of his 
feelings at this time is shown in one of his letters written 
a few weeks later, which I will give in its proper place. 
The day after his return to Richmond he writes to my 
mother : 

" Richmond, December i, 1867. 
" My Dear Mary: I returned here yesterday with Custis, 
Robert, and Fitz. Lee. We left Fitzhugh and his bride 
in Petersburg. Mildred is with them. In consequence 
of being told that the new couple were to leave Peters- 
burg the morning after the wedding, I had made my 
arrangements to return here Saturday. If I had known 
that they would remain till Monday, as it is now their 
intention, I should have made my arrangements to stay. 
Mildred will come up with them on Monday and go to 
Mrs. Caskie's. I proposed to Custis, Rob, and Fitz to 
remain in Petersburg till that time, but they preferred 
coming with me. I shall go to Brandon to-morrow 
morning, and will take Custis and Robert with me. I 
propose to return here Tuesday, finish my business 
Wednesday, spend Thursday at Hickory Hill, take pas- 
sage for Lexington Friday, where I hope to arrive Satur- 
day. As far as I could judge, our new daughter will go 
to Baltimore December 2d and probably return here 
the following Monday. Fitzhugh will go down to the 
White House during the week and make arrangements 
for their sojourn there. He can go down in the morning 
and return in the evening. I repeated our invitation 
to her to visit us on their return from Baltimore, but 
she said Fitzhugh thought it better for them to defer it 
till the spring, but she would write to let us know. I 
do not think she will come at this time, for she is in that 


happy state which causes her to take pleasure in doing 
what she thinks he prefers, and he, I think, would like to 
go to the White House and arrange for the winter. I 
went up to Caskie's last evening. Saw Norvell, but Mr. 
and Mrs. Caskie were both sick upstairs. The latter is 
better than when I last wrote, and free from pain. I paid 
several visits yesterday evening, and took Rob with me. 
Mrs. Triplett's, Mrs. Peebles', Mrs. Brander's, Mrs. J. R. 
Anderson's. At the latter place I met Mrs. Robert 
Stannard, who looked, I thought, remarkably well. She 
is living with Hugh (her son), on his farm. I also went to 
Mrs. Dunlop's and saw there General and Miss Jennie 
Cooper. The latter looked remarkably well, but the 
former is very thin. They will remain here some weeks. 
I have not seen Colonel Allan since my return from Peters- 
burg, but am told that he is better. You must give a 
great deal of love to all with you. I am very anxious 
to get back, and I hope that you are all well. It is very 
cold here this morning, and ice is abundant. Good-bye. 
"Truly and affectionately, 

"R. E. Lee." 

The people mentioned here as those he called on were 
all friends living in Richmond, with whom my mother 
had become well acquainted during her stay there, in 
war times. There were many others he went to see, for 
I remember going with him. He sat only a few minutes 
at each place — "called just to shake hands," he would 
say. All were delighted to see him. From some places 
where he had been well known he could hardly get 
away. He had a kind word for all, and his excuse for 
hurrying on was that he must try to see so and so, as 
Mrs. Lee had told him to be sure to do so. He was bright 
and cheerful, and was pleased with the great affection 
shown him on all sides. 

On the day he had appointed — Monday, the 2d of De- 


cember — we started in the morning for " Brandon." We 
took the steamer down James River, passing through 
much of the country where he had opposed McClellan 
in '62 and Grant in '64. Custis and I were with him. 
He said very little, as I remember — nothing about the war 
— but was interested in all the old homesteads along the 
route, many of which he had visited in the days long 
ago and whose owners had been his relatives and friends. 
He expressed great regret at not being able to stop at 
1 'Shirley," which was the birthplace and home of his 
mother before she married. He stayed at " Brandon" 
one night only, taking the same boat as it returned next 
day to Richmond. They were all glad to see him and 
sorry to let him go, but his plans had been formed before- 
hand, according to his invariable custom, and he carried 
them out without any change. Spending one day in 
Richmond, he went from there to " Hickory Hill," thence 
to Lexington, arriving there the Saturday he had fixed on. 
I bade him and my brother Custis good-bye in Richmond, 
and returned to my home. To my brother, Fitzhugh, 
after his return from his wedding trip, he writes: 

"Lexington, Virginia, December 21, 1867. 
11 My Dear Fitzhugh: I was very glad last night to 
receive your letter of the 18th announcing your return 
to Richmond. I did not like my daughter to be so far 
away. I am glad, however, that, you had so pleasant a 
visit, which has no doubt prepared you for the enjoyments 
of home, and will make the repose of Xmas week in 
Petersburg doubly agreeable. I had a very pleasant 
visit to Brandon after parting with you, which Custis and 
Robert seemed equally to enjoy, and I regretted that I 
could only spend one night. I passed Shirley both going 
and returning with regret, from my inability to stop; 
but Custis and I spent a day at Hickory Hill on our way 


up very agreeably. My visit to Petersburg was ex- 
tremely pleasant. Besides the pleasure of seeing my 
daughter and being with you, which was very great, I 
was gratified in seeing many friends. In addition, when 
our armies were in front of Petersburg I suffered so much 
in body and mind on account of the good townspeople, 
especially on that gloomy night when I was forced to 
abandon them, that I have always reverted to them in 
sadness and sorrow. My old feelings returned to me, as 
I passed well-remembered spots and recalled the ravages 
of the hostile shells. But when I saw the cheerfulness 
with which the people were working to restore their 
condition, and witnessed the comforts with which they 
were surrounded, a load of sorrow which had been 
pressing upon me for years was lifted from my heart. 
This is bad weather for completing your house, but it 
will soon pass away, and your sweet helpmate will make 
everything go smoothly. When the spring opens and 
the mocking-birds resume their song you will have much 
to do. So you must prepare in time. You must give 
a great deal of love for me to all at Mr. Boiling's, to 
'General and Mrs. Mahone, and other friends. We shall 
be very glad when you can bring our daughter to see us. 
Select the time most convenient to you, and do not let 
it be long distant. Tell her I wish to see her very much, 
as do also her mama and sisters. Your mother regrets 
that you did not receive her letter in answer to yours 
from Baltimore. She wrote the day of its reception, and 
addressed it to New York, as you directed. The box 
about which you inquired . arrived safely and was much 
enjoyed. Mary is in Baltimore, where she will probably 
spend the winter. As I am so far from Mildred, it will 
be difficult for her to make up her mind when to return, 
so that the whole care of the household devolves upon 
Agnes, who is occupied all the morning, teaching our 
niece, Mildred. . . . God bless you all is the prayer 
of Your devoted father, R. E. Lee. 

"General Wm. H. F. Lee." 


The Christmas of 1867 I spent, as usual, in Lexington 
with my father. He had been president of the college now 
a little more than two years. The number of professors 
and students had largely increased. The chapel had 
been built, many improvements made to the lecture- 
rooms and halls, the grounds improved by the laying out 
of new roads and walks, the inclosures renewed, the 
grass restored to the campus, and new shade trees set out 
over the college grounds. The increase in the number of 
professors demanded more houses for them. As a move 
in this direction, the trustees decided to build a new 
house for the president, so that the one he now occupied 
could be used for one of the faculty. Accordingly, the 
appropriation of a sum was made, and my father was 
authorised to build according to a plan of his own selec- 
tion. He took a keen interest in this matter, and at once 
commenced designing a new "President's House" on the 
lot which had previously been occupied by an old building 
devoted to the same purpose. This house was completed 
in the summer of 1869. 

The endowment fund of the college had been increased 
by liberal contributions from several philanthropic 
persons, and also by a better investment of the resources 
already belonging to the institution. The fees from the 
greater number of students also added much to its 
prosperity. His interest in the students individually and 
collectively was untiring. By the system of reports made 
weekly to the president, and monthly to the parent or 
guardian, he knew well how each one of his charges was 
getting on, whether or not he was progressing, or even 
holding his own. If the report was unsatisfactory, the 
student was sent for and remonstrated with. If that had 
no effect, the parents were advised, and requested to 


urge the son to try to do better. If the student still 
persisted in wasting his time and money, his parents 
were asked to call him home. 

As illustrating how well the president was acquainted 
with the students, and how accurate was his remembrance 
of their individuality, it is related that on one occasion a 
name was read out in faculty meeting which was un- 
familiar to him. He asked that it be read out again, 
and repeated the name to himself, adding in a tone of 
self-reproach : 

" I have no recollection of a student of that name. 
It is very strange that I have forgotten him. I thought 
I knew every one in college. How long has he been 

An investigation proved that the student had recently 
entered during his absence, and that he had never seen 
him. He won the confidence of the students, and very 
soon their affections. He regarded a mass of petty 
regulations as being only vexatious, and yet by his tact 
and firmness his discipline became most effective. 
Very seldom was there any breaking of the laws. He 
was so honoured and loved that they tried to please him 
in all things. Of course, there were exceptions. I give 
here some letters written to parents and guardians which 
will show how he tried to induce these triflers to become 

"Lexington, Virginia, March 25, 1866. 
"My Dear Sir: I am very glad to learn from your 
letter of the 13th inst. that you have written your son in 
reference to his neglect of his studies. I am sure your 
letter and the kind admonition of his mother will have 
a beneficial effect upon him. I have myself told him as 
plainly but as kindly as I could that it was necessary 


for him to change his course, or that he would be obliged 
to return home. He has promised me that he would 
henceforth be diligent and attentive, and endeavour in 
all things to perform his duty. I hope that he may 
succeed, for I think he is able to do well if he really makes 
the effort. Will you be so kind as to inform Mrs. W. 
that I have received her letter of the 1 9th ? It will give 
me pleasure at all times to aid her son in every way I can, 
but if he desires no benefit from his connection with the 
college it will be to his interest to return home. 

" Very truly your obedient servant, R. E. Lee." 

Here is another letter showing the patience and for- 
bearance of the president and his earnest desire to help 
on in life the young men committed to his charge : 

''Washington College, 
"Lexington, Virginia, April 20, 1868. 
" My Dear Sir: I regret to see, from your letter of the 
29th ult., to the clerk of the faculty, that you have mis- 
understood their action in reference to your son. He 
was not dismissed, as you suppose, from college, but 
every means having been tried by the faculty to induce 
him to attend faithfully and regularly to his studies, 
without effect, and great forbearance having been 
practised, it was thought best for him, and just to you, 
that he should return home. The action of the faculty 
was purposely designed, not to prevent his being received 
into any other college, or to return to this, should you 
so desire. The monthly reports are intended to advise 
parents of the progress of their sons, and it was supposed 
you would have seen the little advancement made by 
yours in his studies, and that no further notice was 
required. The action of the faculty was caused by no 
immorality on his part, but by a systematic neglect of his 
duties, which no counsel on the part of his professors, or 
rny own, could correct. In compliance, however, with 
your wishes, and on the positive promise of amendment 


on the part of your son, he has been received into college, 
and I sincerely hope that he will apply himself diligently 
to his studies, and make an earnest effort to retrieve the 
time he has lost. With great respect, 

"Your obedient servant, R. E. Lee." 

This letter, too, shows his fatherly interest : 

"Washington College, 
"Lexington, Virginia, March 19, 1868. 
"My Dear Sir: Before this you have learned the 
affecting death of your son. I can say nothing to mitigate 
your grief or to relieve your sorrow; but if the sincere 
sympathy of his comrades and friends and of the entire 
community can bring you any consolation, I can assure 
you that you possess it in its fullest extent. When one, 
in the pureness and freshness of youth, before having been 
contaminated by sin or afflicted by misery, is called to 
the presence of his Merciful Creator, it must be solely for 
his good. As difficult as this may be for you now to 
recognise, I hope you will keep it constantly in your 
memory and take it to your comfort ; and I pray that He 
who in His wise Providence has permitted this crushing 
sorrow may sanctify it to the happiness of all. Your 
son and his friend, Mr. Birely, often passed their leisure 
hours in rowing on the river, and, on last Saturday after- 
noon, the 4th inst., attempted what they had more than 
once been cautioned against — to approach the foot of the 
dam, at the public bridge. Unfortunately, their boat was 
caught by the return-current, struck by the falling water, 
and was immediately upset. Their perilous position was 
at once seen from the shore, and aid was hurried to their 
relief, but before it could reach them both had perished. 
Efforts to restore your son's life, though long continued, 
were unavailing. Mr. Birely's body was not found until 
next morning. Their remains were, yesterday, Sunday, 
conveyed to the Episcopal church in this city, where 
the sacred ceremonies for the dead were performed, by the 


Reverend Dr. Pendleton, who nineteen years ago, at the 
far-off home of their infancy, placed upon them their 
baptismal vows. After the service a long procession of 
the professors and students of the college, the officers and 
cadets of the Virginia Military Academy, and the citizens 
of Lexington accompanied their bodies to the packet- 
boat for Lynchburg, where they were placed in charge 
of Messrs. Wheeler & Baker to convey them to Frederick 

"With great regard and sincere sympathy, I am, 

"Most respectfully, R. E. Lee." 


The Reconstruction Period 

the general believes in the enforcement of law 

and order his moral influence in the college 

playful humour shown in his letters — his 

opinion of negro labour — mr. davis's trial — 
letter to mrs. fitzhugh lee — intercourse with 


Virginia was at this time still under military rule. The 
4 'reconstruction" days were not over. My father had 
himself accepted the political situation after the war, 
and had advised every one who had sought his advice 
to do the same. The following incident and letters will 
show his acquiescence in the law of the land, and ready 
submission to the authorities. In a street disturbance 
that spring a student had been shot by a negro, and it 
was reported that, in case of the young man's death, the 
murderer would be summarily dealt with by his college- 
mates. Captain Wagner, the military commissioner, 
wrote to General Lee informing him of these reports. 
He received the following reply : 

"Washington College, 
"Lexington, Virginia, May 4, 1868. 
"Captain Wagner, Commissioner District, 
"Lexington, Virginia. 
"Sir; Upon investigation of the reports which you 
communicated to me yesterday afternoon, I can find no 
foundation for the apprehension that the students of 



Washington College contemplate any attack upon the 

man confined in jail for shooting Mr. Friday night. 

On the contrary, I have been assured by members of 
the faculty and individual students that they have heard 
no suggestion of the kind, and they believe that no such 
intention has been entertained or now exists. I think, 
therefore, the reports made to you are groundless. 
"Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

"R. E. Lee." 

However, in order to take all precautions and provide 
against any disturbance, he wrote as follows to the presi- 
dent of the Young Men's Christian Association, whom he 
knew and trusted, and who was a man of much influence 
with his fellow-students: 

"Mr. G. B. Strickler, 

"President Young Men's Christian Association, 
"Washington College. 
" I have just been informed by Captain Wagner, Mili- 
tary Commissioner of this district, that from information 
received by him, he had reason to apprehend that, should 

the wound received by Mr. Friday night prove fatal, 

the students of Washington College contemplate taking 
from the jail the man who shot him and inflicting upon 
him summary punishment. I cannot believe that any 
such act is intended or would be allowed by the students 
of Washington College, though it is possible that such an 
intention may have been spoken of amongst them. I 
think it only necessary to call the attention of the students 
to the report to prevent such an occurrence. I feel con- 
vinced that none would countenance such outrage against 
law and order, but that all will cheerfully submit to the 
administration of justice by the legal authorities As 
the readiest way of communicating with the students, at 
this hour, on Sunday, I have concluded to address you 
this letter that through the members of the Young Men's 
Christian Association the students generally may be 


informed of the apprehension entertained by the military 
authorities ; and I earnestly invoke the students to abstain 
from any violation of law, and to unite in preserving quiet 
and order on this and every occasion. 

" Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

"R. E. Lee." 

The young man recovered, there was no disturbance of 
any kind, nor was it believed that there would have been, 
after this appeal from the president, even if the wound 
had proved fatal. 

" Nor was it a moral influence alone that he exerted in 
the college. He was equally careful of the intellectual 
interests. He watched the progress of every class, 
attended all the examinations, and strove constantly to 
stimulate both professors and students to the highest 
attainments. The whole college, in a word, felt his 
influence as an ever-present motive, and his character was 
quietly but irresistibly impressed upon it, not only in the 
general working of all its departments, but in all the 
details of each. Of this influence General Lee, modest 
as he was, was perfectly aware, and, like a prudent ruler, 
he husbanded it with wise economy. He preferred to con- 
confine his direct interposition to purely personal acts, 
and rarely — and then only on critical occasions — did he 
step forward to present himself before the whole body of 
students in the full dignity of his presidential office. On 
these occasions, which in the latter years hardly ever 
occurred, he would quietly post an address to the students, 
in which, appealing only to the highest principles of con- 
duct, he sought to dissuade them from threatened evil. 
The addresses, which the boys designated as his ' general 
orders,' were always of immediate efficacy. No single 
case ever occurred in which they failed of instant and 
complete effect; and no student would have been tole- 
rated by his fellow-students who would have dared to dis- 
regard such an appeal from General Lee."* 

* Professor Joynes in University Monthly. 


My father had recovered from the spell of sickness of 
the previous summer at the Old Sweet Springs, which had 
weakened and depressed him until about the time he 
attended my brother's wedding. That marriage had 
been a great joy to him. His trip there and back, and his 
visits to " Brandon" and " Hickory Hill," the change of 
climate and scene, seeing old friends and new places, had 
all contributed to benefit his health and spirits. I remem- 
ber this Christmas of 1867 he seemed particularly bright 
and cheerful. I give a letter he wrote me after, I had left 
for my home which reflects his playful humour and good 
spirits : 

"Lexington, Virginia, January 23, 1868. 
"My Dear Robert: I inclose a letter which has just 
arrived in the mail. It seems to be from a nice young 
lady, judging from the style and address. I hope she is 
the right one and that her response is favourable. Put 
in a good crop, and recollect you may have two to feed 
after harvest. We are doing what we can in this region 
to supply the springs and streams that form the lowland 
rivers. It is still raining, though the snow and ice have 
not left us. After your departure, Mr. Gordon brought 
to me a letter from Fitzhugh to your mother which had 
come in the Sunday mail and was overlooked among the 
papers. I am sorry it had not been found before you left, 
as you would have known their plans. Tell them I am 
sorry not to have seen them. We miss you very much. 
' Life ' has it all her own way now, and expends her energy 
in regulating her brother and putting your mother's 
drawers and presses to rights. It's her only vent, and 
furnishes exercise for body and mind. There is to be a 
great fete in your mother's room to-day. The Grace 
Church Sewing Society is to meet there at 10 a. m. — that 
is, if the members are impervious to water. I charged 
the two Mildreds to be seated with their white aprons on 


and with scissors and thimbles in hand. I hope they 
may have a refreshing time. Good-bye. 

" Your father, 

"R. E. Lee. 
"Robert E. Lee." 

The second Mildred mentioned here was my father's 
niece, daughter of Charles Carter Lee. She w T as living 
with my father at this time, going to school, and was, 
like her cousin the other Mildred, not very fond of her 
needle. His nickname for her was " Powhattie," derived, 
I presume, from her native County of Powhatan. He 
was very fond of teasing her in his playful way. Indeed, 
we all enjoyed that attention from him. He never teased 
any one whom he did not specially like. 

To his new daughter I find the following letter, written 
at this time, in which he shows his affection and admira- 
tion for her: 

" Lexington, Virginia, March 10, 1868. 
"My Beautiful Daughter: I have been wishing to write 
to you for a long time, but have supposed that you would 
be so engrossed with my sons, with their plans and their 
projects, that you could not lend an ear to your papa. 
But now I must tell you how much I have thought of you, 
how much I want to see you, and how greatly I was dis- 
appointed at your not getting to see us at the time you 
proposed. You must not postpone your visit too long, 
or you may not find us here. Our winter, which has been 
long and cold, I hope now is over. The gardeners are 
busy, the grass is growing green, and the atmosphere 
warm and inspiring. I presume under its genial influ- 
ence you and Fitzhugh are busy improving your new 
home. I hope everything is agreeable, and that you are 
becoming more and more interested in making those 
around you happy. That is the true way to secure your 
own happiness, for which my poor prayers are daily 


offered to the throne of the Most High. I have been 
summoned to Richmond the third Thursday in this 
month, as a witness in the trial against Mr. Davis ; and 
though that will be a painful errand for me, I hope that it 
will give me the pleasure of seeing you. I will endeavour 
to get down some day to the White House, if it is only to 
spend Sunday with you. I hope that you will be able to 
pay some attention to your poor brother Robert. Do 
not let his elder brother monopolise you altogether. You 
will have to take care of both till you can find some one 
like yourself to take Romancoke in hand. Do you think 
Miss Anne Banister will consent? Mildred, you know, 
is the only one of the girls who has been with us this 
winter. She has consequently had her hands full, and 
considers herself now a great character. She rules her 
brother and my nephews with an iron rod, and scatters 
her advice broadcast among the young men of the college. 
I hope that it may yield an abundant harvest. The 
young mothers of Lexington ought to be extremely grate- 
ful to her for her suggestions to them as to the proper mode 
of rearing their children, and though she finds many un- 
able to appreciate her system, she is nothing daunted by 
their obtuseness of vision, but takes advantage of every 
opportunity to enlighten them as to its benefits. Mary 
and Agnes are still in Baltimore, and are now at the house 
of Mrs. Charles Howard. Agnes expects, I believe, to re- 
turn to the Peters near Ellicott City, and then go over to 
the Eastern Shore of Maryland to visit the Goldsboroughs 
and other friends. I hardly think either of them will get 
back before June. I have recently received a very pretty 
picture from a young lady of Baltimore, Miss Mary Jones, 
whom I met last summer at the White Sulphur Springs. 
In one of my morning rides to the Beaver-dam Falls, near 
the Sweet Springs, I found her at the foot of the Falls 
making a sketch of the scene, and on her return home she 
finished it and has sent it to me. It is beautifully painted 
and is a faithful representation of the Falls. I think you 
will be pleased with it when you come up, and agree with 


me in the opinion that it is the principal ornament of our 
parlour. I am sorry to inform you that your poor mama 
has been suffering more than usual lately from her rheu- 
matic pains. She took cold in some way, which produced 
a recurrence of her former pangs, though she is in a meas- 
ure now relieved. We often wish for you and Fitzhugh. 
My only pleasure is in my solitary evening rides, which 
give me abundant opportunity for quiet thought. With 
a great deal of love to your husband, I am your sincerely 
attached father, 

"R. E. Lee. 
"Mrs. William H. Fitzhugh Lee." 

The next letter I find is a reply to one of mine, in which 
I evidently had been confiding to him my agricultural 

''Lexington, Virginia, March 12, 1868. 
11 My Dear Rob: I am sorry to learn from your letter of 
the 1st that the winter has been so hard on your wheat. 
I hope, however, the present good weather is shedding its 
influence upon it, and that it will turn out better than it 
promises. You must, however, take a lesson from the 
last season. What you do cultivate, do well. Improve 
and prepare the land in the best manner ; your labour will 
be less, and your profits more. Your flat lands were 
always uncertain in wet winters. The uplands were more 
sure. Is it not possible that some unbidden guest may 
have been feasting on your corn? Six hundred bushels 
are a large deficit in casting up your account for the year. 
But you must make it up by economy and good manage- 
ment. A farmer's motto should be toil and trust. I am 
glad that you have got your lime and sown your oats and 
clover. Do you use the drill or sow broadcast ? I shall 
try to get down to see you if I go to Richmond, for I am 
anxious to know how you are progressing and to see if in 
any way I can aid you. Whenever I can, you must let 
me know. You must still think about your house and 


make up your mind as to the site and kind, and collect the 
material. I can help you to any kind of plan, and with 
some ready money to pay the mechanics. I have recently 
had a visit from Dr. Oliver, of Scotland, who is examining 
lands for immigrants from his country. He seems to be 
a sensible and judicious man. From his account, I do 
not think the Scotch and English would suit your part of 
the country. It would require time for them to become 
acclimated, and they would probably get dissatisfied, 
especially as there is so much mountainous region where 
they could be accommodated. I think you will have to 
look to the Germans ; perhaps the Hollanders, as a class, 
would be the most useful. When the railroad shall have 
been completed to West Point, I think there will be no 
difficulty in getting the whites among you. I would try 
to get some of our own young men in your employ. I 
rode out the other day to Mr. Andrew Cameron's and 
went into the field where he was plowing. I took great 
pleasure in following the plows around the circuit. He 
had four in operation. Three of them were held by his 
former comrades in the army, who are regularly employed 
by him, and, he says, much to his satisfaction and profit. 
People have got to work now. It is creditable to them to 
do so; their bodies and their minds are benefited by it, 
and those who can and will work will be advanced by it. 
You will never prosper with the blacks, and it is abhor- 
rent to a reflecting mind to be supporting and cherishing 
those who are plotting and working for your injury, and 
all of whose sympathies and associations are antagonistic 
to yours. I wish them no evil in the world — on the con- 
trary, will do them every good in my power, and know 
that they are misled by those to whom they have given 
their confidence; but our material, social, and political 
interests are naturally with the whites. Mr. Davis's trial 
was fixed for the last of this month. If Judge Chase's 
presence is essential, I do not see how it can take place, 
unless that of Mr. Johnson is to be postponed. I suppose 
that will be decided to-day or to-morrow, and then I shall 


know what to expect. I shall not go to Richmond unless 
necessary, as it is always inconvenient for me to leave 
home, and I am not at all well. Your poor mother is also 
more ailing than she is ordinarily, in consequence of a cold 
she has taken. But it is passing away, I trust. I must 
leave you to her and Mildred for all local and domestic 
news. Custis and the boys are well, and 'Powhattie,' I 
hope, has got rid of the chills. We hear regularly from 
Mary and Agnes, who seem to be enjoying themselves, 
and I do not think from their programme that they will 
get back to us till summer. All unite in much love, and I 
am always, Your father, 

"R. E. Lee." 

This same month he writes a long letter to his daugh- 
ter Agnes, who was visiting friends in Baltimore. The 
Annette, Mildred, and Mary he mentions in this letter were 
the daughters of Charles Henry Carter, of ''Goodwood," 
Maryland, a first cousin of my father : 

"Lexington, Virginia, March 28, 1868. 
" My Precious Agnes: I was so glad to receive your let- 
ter, to learn that you were well and enjoying yourself 
among pleasant friends. I hope that you will soon get 
through all your visits and come home. Your uncle 
Smith says you girls ought to marry his sons, as you both 
find it so agreeable to be from home, and you could 
then live a true Bohemian life and have a happy time 
generally. But I do not agree with him ; I shall not give 
my consent, so you must choose elsewhere. I have writ- 
ten to Annette telling her of my alarm for her. Now that 
Mildred is engaged, and she sees how much Mary is in 
love, I fear she will pick up an Adonis next, so that she 
had better ran away to the mountains at once. I am glad 
that you saw Mr. Davis. It is a terrible thing to have 
this prosecution hanging over him, and to be unable to 
fix his thoughts on a course of life or apply his hands to 
the support of his family. But I hope a kind Providence 


will shield and guide him. You must remember me to 
all my friends, the Taggarts, Glenns, McKims, Marshalls, 
etc. . . . As to the young ladies you mention, you 
must tell them that I want to see them very much, and 
hope that they will all come to the mountains this sum- 
mer, and not pass us by in Lexington. When you go to 
' Goodwood ' and the Eastern Shore, do the same there for 
me, and present me to all by name. Tell sweet Sallie 
Warwick I think she ought to come to Lexington, if only 
to show those babies ; but in truth I want to see her more 
than them, so she may leave them with Major Poor*, if 
she chooses. You must see everybody you wish and 
enjoy yourself as much as you can, and then come home. 
I told Mildred to tell you if you wanted any funds you 
must let me know and where to send them. I do not 
know whether she delivered my message. She has become 
very imperious, and may not think you require any. She 
has been much exercised of late on the score of servants, 
but hopes to get some relief on the ist proximo from the 
promised change of Miss Mary Dixon to Miss Eliza Cyrus. 
I hope her expectations may be realised. Little Mildred 
has had a return of her chills. It has been a sharp attack, 
and though it has been arrested, when I left her this 
morning I feared she might have a relapse, as this is her 
regular day. She was looking remarkably well before it 
came on, better than she had ever done, but every cold 
terminates in this way, however slight it may be. Colds 
have been quite prevalent, and there have been two deaths 
among the cadets from pneumonia. Fortunately so far 
the students have escaped. I am relieved of mine I 
hope, and your poor mother is, I hope, better. The storm 
seems to have subsided, and I trust the bright weather 
may ameliorate her pains. Custis, Mildred, and the boys 
are well, as are most of our friends in Lexington. . . . 
Fitzhugh writes that everything is blooming at the 
'White House,' and that his wheat is splendid. I am in 
hopes that it is all due to the presence of my fair daugh- 

* Her husband. 


ter. Rob says that things at Romancoke are not so pros- 
perous — you see, there is no Mrs. R. E. Lee, Jr., there, and 
that may make the difference. Cannot you persuade 
some of those pretty girls in Baltimore to take compassion 
on a poor bachelor ? I will give them a plan for a house, 
if they will build it. . ... All would unite with me in 
love if they knew I was writing. You ought to be here to 
enjoy the birds Captain O. C. H. sends us. With much 
love for yourself, and my poor prayers for your happiness, 
I am, Your devoted father, 

"R. E. Lee." 

A few days afterward he writes to his son Fitzhugh, 
who was now established very happily in his new house, 
and warns him not to depend entirely on sentiment, but 
to arrange for something material. He also speaks of 
Mr. Davis and his trial, which was continually being 
postponed, and in the end was dismissed, and gives him 
some good advice about importing cattle : 

Lexington, Virginia, March 30, 1868. 
"My Dear Fitzhugh: I was very glad to receive your 
letter of the 19th, and as you are aware of the order of 
the court postponing Mr. Davis's trial till the 14th proximo, 
I presume that you have not been expecting me down. I 
see it stated in the Washington Star that the trial is again 
postponed till May 4th, but I have seen as yet no order 
from the court. Mr. and Mrs. Davis went from Baltimore 
to New York on Tuesday last, and were to go on to 
Canada. He said that he did not know what he should 
do or what he could turn his hands to for a support. 
As long as this trial is hanging over him, of course, he can 
do nothing. He can apply his mind to nothing, nor 
could he acquire the confidence of the business community 
in anything he might undertake, from the apprehension of 
his being interrupted in the midst of it. Agnes and 
Mary saw them as they passed through Baltimore. 


They say Mr. Davis was well, though he had changed a 
great deal since they saw him last. I am very glad that 
you are so pleased with your house. I think it must be 
my daughter that gives it such a charm. I am sure that 
she will make everything look bright to me. It is a good 
thing that the wheat is doing so well, for I am not sure 
'that the flame you are so rich in will light a fire in the 
kitchen, nor the little god turn the spit, spit, spit/ Some 
material element is necessary to make it burn brightly 
and furnish some good dishes for the table. Shad are 
good in their way, but they do not run up the Pamunkey 
all the year. I am glad that you are making arrange- 
ments for some cows, and think you are right in getting 
those of the best breed. It used to be thought that 
cows from the North would not prosper in that lower 
country, and indeed cows from the upper part of Virginia 
did not succeed well, but were apt to become sick and die ; 
and that the surest process to improve the stock was to 
purchase calves of good breed and cross on the native 
stock. You must, therefore, be careful and not invest 
too much. We have had a cold winter, and March has 
been particularly harsh. Still, vegetation is progressing 
and the wheat around Lexington looks beautiful. My 
garden is advancing in a small way. Pease, spinach, and 
onions look promising, but my hot-bed plants are poor. 
The new house, about which you inquire, is in statu quo 
before winter. I believe the money is wanting and the 
workmen cannot proceed. We require some of that 
latter article here, as elsewhere, and have but little. 
. . . I heard of you in Richmond the other day, but 
did not learn whether my daughter was with you. I 
wish you would send her up to her papa when you go 
away. With much love, 

"Your devoted father, R. E. Lee." 

A month later he writes me, telling me that he expects 
to be in Richmond the following week, and will try to get 
down to see us ; also telling of his garden, and horse, and, 


as he always did, encouraging, cheering me, and offering 

" Lexington, Virginia, April 25, 1868. 

" My Dear Rob: Your letter of the 2 1st is just received. 
I am very glad that your wheat is improving in ap- 
pearance, and hope that at harvest it will yield a fair 
return for your care and labour. Your corn I am sure 
will be more remunerative than the crop of last year, and 
I trust that at the end of the year you will find you have 
advanced in the field of agriculture. Your mule and 
provender was a heavy loss. You must make it up. 
Replace the first by a good one and I will pay for it. I 
hope the warm sun will bring forward the grass to supply 
the latter. Should I go to Richmond, next week, as I 
now expect, I will be prepared to pay for the mule, and 
if I do not I will send you a check for the amount. I am 
sorry to hear that you have not been well. You must 
get out of that too. . . . You must refresh yourself 
when you can by going up to the White House to see 
your brother and sister. Take a good look at the latter 
for me. ... In our garden nothing is up but the 
hardy plants, pease, potatoes, spinach, onions, etc. . . . 
Beets, carrots, salsify, etc., have been sown a long time, 
but are not up, and I cannot put in the beans, squash, 
etc., or set out the hot-bed plants. But we can wait. 
I have not been as well this winter as usual, and have 
been confined of late. I have taken up Traveller, how- 
ever, who is as rough as a bear, and have had two or three 
rides on him, in the mud, which I think has benefited me. 
Mildred sometimes accompanies me. Your mother, I 
am glad to say, is better. She has less pain than when I 
last wrote, and is more active on her crutches. . . . 
Good-bye, my dear son. If I go to Richmond I will try 
to get to see you. 

''Affectionately your father, 

"R. E. Lee. 

"R. E. Lee, Jr." 


My father came to Richmond, summoned to attend the 
trial of Mr. Davis, but when he arrived he found that it 
was again postponed. So he went to the White House 
and spent several days. I came up from Romancoke and 
stayed with him till he left. It was a great pleasure to 
him to meet his sons and to see his new daughter in her 
new home. After his return to Lexington he wrote to 
her this letter : 

"Lexington, Virginia, May 29, 1868. 

"My Dear Daughter: I have been enjoying in memory, 
ever since my return, my visit to the Pamunkey, and 
whenever I have thought of writing to you the pleasure 
I experienced in your company and in that of Fitzhugh 
and Robert absorbed the moment I could devote to a 
letter, and other calls made me postpone it. But I have 
thought of you often, and always with renewed pleasure; 
and I rejoice at your having around you more comforts 
and within your reach more pleasures than I had antici- 
pated. I pray that both may be increased and be long 
continued. There is one thing I regret — that you are so 
far from us. I know the difficulty of farmers and their 
wives leaving home. Their success, and in a measure 
their pleasure, depend upon their daily attention to 
their affairs, and it is almost an impossibility for us old 
people to get to you. Yet I trust we may meet this 
summer some time, and whenever you can you must 
come and see us. Our small house will never be so full 
that there will not be room for you, or so empty that you 
will not be most cordially welcome. Letters received 
from Mary and Agnes report them still on the Eastern 
Shore of Maryland, where they were detained by the 
sickness of Agnes. They expected, however, to be able 
to return to Baltimore last Tuesday, 26th, where, after 
a few days' sojourn, they were to go to Mrs. Washington 
Peter's. I fear, however, that Agnes might not have been 
well enough, as she had had an attack of bilious fever 


and was much prostrated. Should you find yourself in 
danger of becoming sick, you must come right up to 
your papa. I know you will pine, but I would rather 
you should suffer in that way than burn with fever, 
and while on that subject I will tell you something that 
may be of comfort : you may reasonably expect Fitzhugh 
soon to follow, so you will not suffer long. I wish to 
take your mama to the Warm Springs, and to the Hot 
or Healing, if she will go, to try to obtain for her some 
relief ; but we will not leave home till the last of June or 
first of July. I am so much occupied that I feel that I 
ought never to go away, and every absence accumulates 
my work. I had a pleasant visit of three days, to Lynch- 
burg, attending the Episcopal Convention, and I have 
not yet brought up my correspondence, etc. I fear, too, 
I shall have to go to Richmond next week, as everything 
seems to portend the certainty of Mr. Davis's trial. God 
grant that, like the impeachment of Mr. Johnson, it may 
be dismissed. If I do go, I fear I shall have no time to 
visit you. The examinations of the senior classes of 
the college are now in progress, and after their completion 
the examination of the undergraduates will commence, 
and will not terminate till the 1 5th of June, and the com- 
mencement exercises then begin and end on the 18th. 
So you see how necessary it is for me to be here and that 
I shall be obliged to hasten back as soon as permitted. 
I wanted, if possible, to pass one day at 'Shirley' — 
I have not been there for ten years. It was the loved 
home of my mother, and a spot where I have passed 
many happy days in early life, and one that probably 
I may never visit again. But I do not know that I shall 
be able. We are all as usual, and all would send much 
love if they knew I was writing. Mildred is very happy 
in the company of Miss Charlotte Haxall, and Custis 
retains his serenity of character. Our young members 
of the family are looking forward to their return to 
Powhatan as soon as the college exercises close, which 
I hope will bring some relief to me also. I see that you 


have been much visited of late, but you know that no 
one wants to see you as much as I do. Tell Fitzhugh 
that his old friend, Miss Helen Peters, has come to 
Lexington, from New York, to pass the summer. See 
what an attractive place it is becoming. She is now 
Mrs. Taylor and has brought with her two babies. She 
is as cordial and as affectionate as ever. Give much 
love to Fitzhugh and Rob, and believe me always your 
devoted father, 

"R. E. Lee. 
"Mrs. Wm. H. Fitzhugh Lee." 

My father was back at the college in full time for the 
"final examinations." He always made it a point to be 
present, and took his full share of sitting in the rooms 
while the students were working out their papers. When 
occasion offered, somewhat to the surprise of the learned 
faculty, he showed himself thoroughly conversant with 
each and every department. Even with Greek he 
seemed somewhat familiar, and would question the 
students as to their knowledge of this language, much 
to their astonishment. 

The commencement exercises of the college began 
about June ist and lasted a week. At this time, the 
town was crowded with visitors, and my father had his 
house full, generally of young girls, friends of my sisters 
who came to assist at the "final ball," the great social 
event connected with this college exercise. He seemed 
to enjoy their society as much as the young men did, 
though he could not devote so much time to them as the 
boys did, and I know that the girls enjoyed his society 
more than they did that of their college adorers. On 
the occasion of an entertainment at his house, in going 
amongst his guests saying to each group something bright 
and pleasant, he approached a young lady, a great belle, 


completely surrounded by her admirers — students, cadets, 
and some old "Confeds." He stopped and began to 
rally her on her conquests, saying: 

"You can do as you please to these other young gen- 
tlemen, but you must not treat any of my old soldiers 

Those who have never known him cannot imagine the 
charm of his manner, the brightness of his smile, and the 
pleasant way he had of speaking, especially to young 
people and little children. His rebukes to the young 
were administered in the kindest, gentlest way, almost 
persuasively, but he could be stern when the occasion 
demanded. Colonel William Preston Johnston, a member 
of his faculty and a very dear and trusted friend, says : 

" In his intercourse with his faculty he was courteous, 
kind, and often rather playful in manner. We all thought 
he deferred entirely too much to the expression of opinion 
on the part of the faculty, when we would have preferred 
that he should simply, indicate his own views or desire. 
One characteristic of General Lee I noted then and have 
often recalled: I never saw him take an ungraceful pos- 
ture. No matter how long or fatiguing a faculty meeting 
might be, he always preserved an attitude in which 
dignity, decorum, and grace were united. He was a very 
well built man, with rounded body and limbs, and seemed 
without the slightest affectation of effort to sit or stand 
or walk just as a gentleman should. He was never in a 
hurry, and all his gestures were easy and significant. 
He was always an agreeable companion. There was a 
good deal of bonhomie and pleasantry in his conversa- 
tion. He was not exactly witty, nor was he very 
humorous, though he gave a light turn to table-talk 
and enjoyed exceedingly any pleasantry or fun, even. 
He often made a quaint or slightly caustic remark, but 
he took care tha+« it should not be too trenchant. On 


reading his letters one discovers this playful spirit in many 
of them, as, for instance, in his letter to the spiritualist 
who asked his opinion of Von Moltke and the French 
war. He wrote in reply a most courteous letter in which 
he said that 'the question was one about which mili- 
tary critics would differ, that his own judgment about 
such matters was poor at best, and that inasmuch as they 
had the power to consult (through their mediums) Caesar, 
Alexander, Napoleon, Wellington, and all of the other 
great captains who had ever lived, he could not think 
of obtruding his opinion in such company/ General 
Lee did not talk politics, but he felt very deeply the 
condition of the country, and expressed to me several 
times in strong terms his disapproval of the course of the 
dominant party." 

There is a story told of my father which points to his 
playful manner here alluded to. At a certain faculty 
meeting they were joking Mr. Harris, who so long and so 
ably filled the chair of Latin, about his walking up the 
aisle of the Presbyterian church with the stem of his 
pipe protruding from his pocket. Mr. Harris took out 
the offending stem and began cutting it shorter. My 
father, who had been enjoying the incident, said: 

" No, Mr. Harris, don't do that ; next time leave it at 

Sometimes he deemed it advisable to be a little stern. 
One of the young professors went off for a few days 
without asking the president's permission. On his return 
the General met him very stiffly, saying: 

" Mr. , I congratulate you on your return to your 

friends and your duties. I was not aware of your absence 
until I heard it by chance." 

Mr. told this on himself, and added that it was 

the last time he ever went away without a formal leave 


of absence. His particularity in little things has often 
been commented on. He applied it to all his affairs. 
Dr. Kirkpatrick, Professor of Moral Philosophy, came 
into the president's office and asked for a certain paper. 
My father told him where it could be found. After a 
while, turning to the doctor he said : 

"Did you find the paper?" 

"Yes, General," replied the Doctor. 

"Did you return it to the place where you found it?" 

"Yes, General." 

At another time he asked Professor Harris to look 
at a catalogue on the table. The Professor took up a 
new one, wrapped ready for the mail, and was about to 
tear the cover off, when my father, hastily handing him 
one already opened, said: 

"Take this, if you please." 

My mother used to say that he could go, in the dark, 
and lay his hand on any article of his clothing, or upon 
any particular paper, after he had once arranged them, 
provided they had not been disturbed. One of his 
"quaint or slightly caustic remarks," alluded to by 
Colonel Johnston, I recall as told to me. He met a lady 
friend down in the town, who bitterly complained that 
she could get nothing to eat in Lexington suitable for 
Lent — no fish, no oysters, etc. 

" Mrs. , " the General replied, " I would not trouble 

myself so much about special dishes; I suppose if we 
try to abstain from special sins that is all that will be 
expected of us." 

Mrs. R . E. Lee 






lee's FAMILY 

That summer my father determined to take my mother 
to the Warm Springs, in Bath County, Virginia, hoping 
that the baths there might be of service to her, and 
purposing, if she was not benefited, to go to the Hot 
Springs, five miles distant. He was most anxious that 
his new daughter should join her there and go with him 
to any place she might select, and come back with them 
to Lexington. In the following letter to his son he tells 
of his plans for the summer: 

" Lexington, Virginia, July i, 1868. 
"My Dear Fitzhugh: I received yesterday your letter 
of the 28th ultimo, and regret very much to learn of 
Tabb's indisposition. I hope that she will soon be well, 
and I wish very much she would join us in the mountains 
and return here with us. In my letter to her about the 
time when she went to her sister's wedding, which I hope 
she got, I told her of my wishes on this subject, and 
believe gave her our general plans. I can now say with 
more distinctness that, unless something now unforeseen 


MRS. R. E. LEE 319 

should prevent, I will take your mother to the Warm 
Springs, from the 10th to the 15th inst., and after trying 
the water there about two weeks, if not favourable, will 
take her over to the Hot. After seeing her comfortably 
established, I will then go anywhere Tabb desires — to 
the Healing or the White Sulphur or Sweet. I intend 
to go myself to the White Sulphur for about a fortnight, 
to drink the water, and will take Mildred with me. Agnes, 
having gone last summer, will not care to go, I presume, 
and can remain with her mother. Mildred has been 
quite sick for the past week, but is now much better, and 
in a week will be strong enough for the journey, I think. 
If not, we shall have to delay our departure a little. 
Agnes was also sick on the Eastern Shore of Maryland 
about three weeks, and, I am told, looks badly. She 
is now at the University of Virginia, and will be home 
in a few days and go with us to the Springs. You must 
arrange your plans to suit your interests and convenience, 
coming to us when you can and staying as long as you 
can. You know the interest I take in your prosperity 
and advancement, which cannot be assured without 
earnest attention to your business on your part, and 
therefore I never urge you to act contrary to your own 
judgment in reference to them. As to my daughter, 
Tabb, tell her if she will trust herself to her papa she 
shall never want anything he can do for her, and I think 
she will find the prediction in my letter to her verified. 
She might join us at Goshen and go with us, or come here. 
Why did she not come up with her father? I went to 
see him last evening, but he was out. Your mother, I 
presume, has told you of home affairs. She has become 
nervous of late, and broods over her troubles so much 
that I fear it increases her sufferings. I am therefore 
the more anxious to give her new scenes and new thoughts. 
It is the principal good I anticipate. Love to Rob. 
Custis still talks of visiting you, but I have not heard of 
his having fixed the day of his departure. He is quite 


well. With my best love to my daughter T and 

the same to yourself, I am, 

"Most affectionately your father, 

"R. E. Lee." 

The morning he left Lexington he, while waiting for 
the stage, writes as follows to a great favourite of his, a 
friend of Mildred's, who had been on a visit to her that 
summer : 

"Lexington, Virginia, July 14, 1868. 
". . . The stage is at the door to carry us to 
Goshen, and if Mrs. Lee's strength permits, we hope to 
reach the Warm Springs to-night. After two or three 
weeks' trial of its waters we shall go to the Hot, where, 
leaving Agnes to take care of her mother, I shall take 
Mildred to the White Sulphur, and hope to meet you at 
Covington and carry you along. Will you not come? 
. . . Mildred is quite well again and is flying about 
this morning with great activity. Agnes is following 
with slower steps, Mrs. Lee is giving her last injunctions 
to Sam and Eliza. Letitia* is looking on with wonder 
at the preparations, and trying to get a right conception 
of the place to which she is going, which she seems to 
think is something between a steel-trap and a spring- 
gun. Custis is waiting to help his mother into the stage, 
and you see how patient I am. To add interest to the 
scene, Dr. Barton has arrived to bid adieu and to give 
Mildred an opportunity of looking her best. I believe 
he is the last rose of summer. The others, with their 
fragrance and thorns, have all departed. . . ." 

A few days after their arrival at the Warm Springs, 
Mildred was taken ill with typhoid fever, and during 
many anxious weeks my father and Agnes were her only 
nurses. My mother's room was on the first floor of the 

* My mother's maid. 

MRS. R. E. LEE 321 

" Brockenborough Cottage," my sister's in the second, 
so she could not get upstairs to her room. Mildred was 
very fanciful — would have no one but my father to nurse 
her, and could not sleep unless she had his hand in hers. 
Night after night he sat by her side, watching over her 
and attending to every want with gentleness and patience. 
He writes to the same young lady, at Mildred's request : 

''Warm Springs, Virginia, July 30, 1868. 
" . . . She [Mildred] has been so anxious to write 
to you, and so uneasy at her inability to do so, that I hope 
you will permit me to tell you the reason. She has been 
quite sick and is so still — confined to her bed with low 
fever, which retains its hold very pertinaciously. She 
took cold a few days after our arrival, from some impru- 
dence, and is now very much enfeebled. She has been 
more comfortable the last day or two, and I hope is 
better, but I presume her recovery will necessarily be slow. 
You know she is very fanciful, and as she seems to be 
more accessible to reason from me, I have come be her 
chief nurse, and am now writing in her room, while she 
is sleeping. . . . This is a beautiful valley, and we 
have quite a pleasant company — Mr. and Mrs. Chapman 
and their three daughters from Alabama; Mrs. Coleman 
and her two daughters from Baltimore; some ladies 
from Richmond, Washington, Kentucky, Iowa, etc., and 
an ever-changing scene of faces. As soon as Mildred is 
strong enough, we will go to the Hot, after which, if she 
desires it, I will take her to the White. Mrs. Lee and 
Agnes are improving slightly, I am glad to say. We 
hear of many friends at the Hot, Healing, and White, 
and hope we shall reach these respective waters before 
they depart. . . . The Harrisons have written me 
that they will be here on the 14th proximo, but unless 
Mildred's recovery is much retarded it will be too late 
for me to see them. The Caskies will be at the Hot 
about the same time. ... I am, 

"Yours most sincerely, R. E. Lee." 


On August 3d, from the same place, he writes to my 
brother Fitzhugh: 

" . . . this was the day I had appointed to go to 
the Hot, but Mildred is too sick to move. She was 
taken more than a fortnight since, . . . and her 
attack seems to have partaken of a typhoid character. 
She has had since a low and persistent fever, which retains 
its hold. She is very feeble, but, in the doctor's opinion, 
somewhat better. I myself see little change, except 
that she is now free from pain. I cannot speak of our 
future movements. I fear I shall have to abandon my 
visit to the White. Your mother and Agnes are better 
than when they arrived. The former bathes freely, eats 
generously, and sleeps sweetly. Agnes, though feeble, 
is stronger. I am the same, and can see no effects of the 
waters upon myself. Give much love to my sweet 
daughter and dear sons. All unite with me in this mes- 
sage. ... I am, as ever and always, 

" Your father, 

"R. E. Lee." 

Another letter to my brother, Fitzhugh, from the 
Warm Springs, tells of his daughter's convalescence. 
Smith's Island, of which he writes, belonged to my 
grandfather's estate, of which my father was executor. 
He was trying to make some disposition of it, so that it 
might yield a revenue. It is situated on the Atlantic, 
just east of Cape Charles, in Northampton County, 

''Warm Springs, Virginia, August 14, 1868. 
"My Dear Fitzhugh: I received, yesterday, your 
letter of the 9th, and, as your mother informed you of 
Mildred's condition, I deferred replying to it until to-day. 
I am glad to inform you that she is better, and that the 
doctor pronounces her convalescent this morning. He 

MRS. R. E. LEE 323 

says her progress must necessarily be slow, but with 
care and prudence he sees nothing to prevent her recovery, 
unless something unforeseen occurs. I hope, therefore, 
we may dismiss our anxiety. As regards Smith's Island, 
I should be very glad if you could go over and see it, and, 
if you think proper, make such disposition of it as you 
and Robert think most advantageous. See Mr. Hamilton 
S. Neale (Eastville, Northampton County, Virginia) and 
consult with him on the subject and let me know your 
determination. I think you will find him kind and 
intelligent. I have visited the island twice in my life, 
a long while ago, and thought that, if a person lived on 
it, he might, oy grazing, planting, and fishing, make a 
comfortable living. You and Robert might, if you choose, 
buy the island from the estate. I fear the timber, etc., 
has been cut from it. I never thought it as valuable as 
your grandfather did. You will have to go to Norfolk, 
take the steamer to Cherrystone, where, I suppose, you 
can find a conveyance to Eastville. You know Cobb's 
Island has been a fashionable bathing-place. John 
Lewis wrote that the beach was delightful and fare 
excellent, and that they had sail- vessels there at the 
disposal of visitors. But Mr. Neale and Mr. John Simp- 
kins, the present agent, can put you in the way of 
visiting the island, and you might carry my sweet daugh- 
ter, Tabb, over and give her a surf bath. But do not let the 
mosquitoes annoy her. Give her much love from me. 
I am writing in Mildred's room, who is very grateful for 
your interest in her behalf. She is too weak to speak. I 
hope Rob had a pleasant trip. Tell me Custis's plans. 
I have not heard from him. Your mother and Agnes 
unite in love to you, Rob, and Tabb. I have a fan in one 
hand, while I wield the pen with the other, so excuse 
brevity. Most affectionately yours, R. E. Lee. 

"P.S. — George and Eleanor Goldsborough and Miss 

Mary G express themselves as much pleased with 

Cobb's Island. I do not know how far it is east of 
Smith's Island. R. E. Lee." 


His daughter being convalescent, he carried out his 
plan, and went over to the White Sulphur Springs, after 
he had placed my mother and sisters at the Hot Springs. 
In a letter from there, on August 28th, he writes: 

" . . . The place looks beautiful — the belles very 
handsome, and the beaux very happy. All are gay, and 
only I solitary. I am all alone. There was a grand 
fancy masked ball last night. ' The room was overflowing, 
the music good, as much spring in the boards as in the 
conversation, and the german continued till two o'clock 
this morning. I return to the Hot next week, and 
the following to Lexington. Mildred is much better, 
but says she has forgotten how to write. I hope that 
she will be strong enough to return with me. ... I 
am, Truly and affectionately yours, R. E. Lee." 

They all returned to Lexington early in September, in 
time for the opening of the college. Mildred was still 
weak and nervous, nor did she recover her normal strength 
for several months. She was always my father's pet as 
a little girl, and during this illness and convalescence he 
had been very tender with her, humouring as far as he 
could all of her fancies. Not long before that Christmas, 
she enumerated, just in fun, all the presents she wished — 
a long list. To her great surprise, when Christmas 
morning came she found each article at her place at the 
breakfast-table — not one omitted. 

His sympathy with all who were suffering, ill, and 
afflicted was warm and sincere. Colonel Shipp, now 
superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute, was the 
commandant of cadets when my father came to Lexing- 
ton. He tells me that he was ill for some weeks, laid up 
in his room, which was next to that of my brother Custis, 
He hardly knew General Lee, and had spoken to him only 

MRS. R. E. LEE 325 

a few times, but my father went to see him quite often, 
would sit by him, talk to him, and seemed much interested 
in his getting well. He said that he would consult Mrs. 
Lee ("who is a great doctor"), and he finally brought a 
bottle of something in which sudor-berries were the chief 
ingredient. Colonel Shipp found out afterward that the 
sudor-berries had been sent from the White House, and 
that my mother had concocted the medicine. 

On one occasion, calling at Colonel Preston's, he missed 
two little boys in the family circle, who were great favour- 
ites of his, and on asking for them he was told that they 
were confined to the nursery by croup. The next day, 
though the weather was of the worst description, he 
went trudging in great storm-boots back to their house, 
carrying in one hand a basket of pecan nuts and in the 
other a toy, which he left for his little sick friends. 

To my mother, who was a great invalid from rheu- 
matism for more than ten years, he was the most faithful 
attendant and tender nurse. Every want of hers that 
he could supply he anticipated. His considerate fore- 
thought saved her from much pain and trouble. During 
the war he constantly wrote to her, even when on the 
march and amidst the most pressing duties. Every 
summer of their life in Lexington he arranged that she 
should spend several months at one of the many me- 
dicinal springs in the neighbouring mountains, as much 
that she might be surrounded by new scenes and faces, 
as for the benefit of the waters. Whenever he was in 
the room, the privilege of pushing her wheeled chair into 
the dining-room and out on the verandas or elsewhere 
about the house was yielded to him. He sat with her 
daily, entertaining her with accounts of what was doing 
in the college, and the news of the village, and would 


often read to her in the evening. For her his love and 
care never ceased, his gentleness and patience never 

This tenderness for the sick and helpless was developed 
in him when he was a mere lad. His mother was an 
invalid, and he was her constant nurse. In her last 
illness he mixed every dose of medicine she took, and was 
with her night and day. If he left the room, she kept 
her eyes on the door till he returned. He never left her 
but for a short time. After her death the health of their 
faithful servant, Nat, became very bad. My father, 
then just graduated from West Point, took him to the 
South, had the best medical advice, a comfortable room, 
and everything that could be done to restore him, and 
attended to him himself. 

I can find very few family letters written by my 
father at this time. Those which have been preserved 
are to my brother Fitzhugh, and are mostly about 
Smith's Island and the settling up of my grandfather's 
estate. The last of September he writes : 

"Lexington, Virginia, September 28, 1868. 
"My Dear Fitzhugh: Your report of the condition of 
Smith's Island corresponds with my own impressions, 
based upon my knowledge of the island and the reports 
of others. I think it would be advantageous, under 
present circumstances, to make sale of the island as soon 
as a fair price can be obtained, and I have so instructed 
Mr. Hamilton S. Neale, who has consented to act as my 
agent. ... I should like this whole matter arranged 
as soon as possible, for my life is very uncertain, and its 
settlement now may avoid future difficulties. I am very 
glad to hear that you and Rob have continued well, and 
that my daughter is improving. Give my love to them 
both. The loss of your fine cows is a serious one, and I 

MRS. R. E. LEE 327 

believe you will have to procure them in your vicinity 
and improve them. Get some calves this fall of a good 
breed. We hope that we shall see you this fall. Your 
mother is as comfortable as usual, and Mildred is im- 
proving. Custis, Mary, and Agnes are well, and all 
would send love, did they know I was writing. 

" Very affectionately your father, R. E. Lee. " 

This autumn he had a visit from his nephew, Edward 
Lee Childe. Edward lived in Paris, and had crossed 
over in the summer to see my father and mother. He 
made a very pleasant impression on everybody, and was 
much pleased with his visit. Here is a letter written by 
my father to my brother just after Edward left : 

"Lexington, Virginia, October 14, 1868. 
"My Dear Fitzhugh: I have returned to Mr. Hamilton 
S. Neale the advertisement of the sale of Smith's Island, 
with my approval, and have requested him to advertise 
in the Northern and Richmond papers, etc., and to send 
out such other notices as he deems best calculated to 
attract attention to the property, and to take every 
measure to enhance the value of the island and to procure 
for your grandfather's estate the full benefit of the sale. 
. . . I have heard from Mr. Compton that my daughter 
Tabb has returned to the White House in improved 
health, which I am very glad of. I hope that you will 
soon be able to bring her up to see us. Do not wait until 
the weather becomes too cold. Our mountain atmosphere 
in winter is very harsh. So far, the weather has been 
delightful. Your cousin Edward left us last Thursday 
evening on his way to see you. We enjoyed his visit 
greatly. Agnes and I rode down to the Baths last 
Saturday to see the Harrisons, and returned Sunday 
evening. They were well, and somewhat benefited by 
their visit. Mr. George Ritchie's death no doubt threw 
a shade of sadness over the whole party on Mrs. Harrison's 


account, though all were charming and Miss Belle very 
sweet. We are about the same — your poor mother 
comfortable, Mildred improving. All would unite in love 
to you and yours, did they know I was writing. Give 
much love to my dear daughter, Tabb, and tell her that 
I want to see her very much. 

"Truly and affectionately your father, 
"General W. H. Fitzhugh Lee. R. E. Lee." 

In a few days, he writes again, still about Smith's 
Island, but adds much about the family and friends : 

"Lexington, Virginia, October 19, 1868. 
" My Dear Fitzhugh: I received your letter of the 
12th the day I last wrote to you. I am glad we agree 

that $ should be the minimum limit for the price of 

Smith's Island. You will see by my letter referred to 
that it has been so fixed. December 2 2d is the day 
proposed by Mr. Neale as the time of public sale, which 
was approved by me, though I feared the notice might be 
too short. Still there are good reasons for the sale being 
made without unnecessary delay. I think November, 
which you suggest, would not afford sufficient notice. I 
would recommend that you and Robert attend the sale, 
and be governed by circumstances in what you do. I 
would go myself, but it would be a long, hard journey 
for me at that season of the year, and I do not see any 
material good that I can do. Mr. Neale kindly offered 
to meet me at Cherrystone landing and take me to his 
house, but I shall decline in your favour. I am sorry 
that Edward did not get down to see you, for I wanted 
him to see my daughter, Tabb. I am sure he has seen 
none like her in Paris. He left here with the purpose of 
visiting you and his uncle Smith, and I do not know 
what made him change his mind. I hope that you will 
get in a good crop of wheat, and get it in well. The 
latter is very important and unless accomplished may 
deprive you of the whole benefit of your labour and 

MRS. R. E. LEE 329 

expense. We shall look anxiously for your visit. Do 
not put it off too late or the weather may be unfavourable. 
Our mountain country is not the most pleasant in cold 
weather, but we will try and make you warm. Give my 
love to Tabb, and tell her I am wanting to see her all the 
time. All unite in love to her and you. Your mother 
is about the same, very busy, and full of work. Mildred 
is steadily improving, and is able to ride on horseback, 
which she is beginning to enjoy. Mary and Agnes very 
well. We see but little of Custis. He has joined the 
mess at the institute, which he finds very comfortable, so 
that he rarely comes to our table to breakfast now. The 
rest of the time he seems to be occupied with his classes 
and studies. Remember me to Rob. I hear of a great 
many weddings, but his has not been announced yet. 
He must not forget his house. I have not, and am 
going to take up the plan very soon. Mildred says a 
good house is an effective card in the matrimonial game. 
She is building a castle in the air. The Harrisons propose 
leaving the Baths to-morrow. George arrived a week ago. 
I did not get down Saturday to see them as I wished. I 
hope the health of the whole party has been improved. 
I wish I could spend this month with you. That lower 
country is delightful to me at this season, and I long to be 
on the water again, but it cannot be. With much love, 

"R. E. Lee. 
"General Wm. H. Fitzhugh Lee." 

The last of October he went to Staunton on some 
business. He rode Traveller, and Colonel Wm. Allan 
rode with him. It was the time of the Augusta Agri- 
cultural Fair, and while there he visited the exhibition 
and was received by the people with great demonstrations 
of delight. A student standing by remarked dryly: 

" I don't see why the Staunton people make all this 
to do over General Lee ; why, in Lexington, he sends for 
me to come to see him ! " 


In a letter of November 2d he mentions this little 
journey : 

" . . . I have recently paid a visit to Staunton and 
saw the young people there. They seemed very happy 
in their fair, and the beaux with their belles. I rode 
over on Traveller and was accompanied by Colonel Allan. 
The former was delighted at the length of the road, and 
the latter relieved from an obstinate cold from which he 
was suffering. On the second morning, just as the 
knights were being marshalled to prove their prowess 
and devotion, we commenced our journey back to 
Lexington, which we reached before nine p. m., under the 
light of a beautiful moon." 

At this time his son Fitzhugh and his new daughter 
paid their long-promised visit, which he enjoyed im- 
mensely. My mother and sisters were charmed with her, 
and the entire community vied in paying her attention. 
My father was proud of his daughter-in-law and much 
gratified at his son's marriage. He was delighted with 
the manner in which she adapted herself to the ways of 
all her new relations, with her sweet attention to my 
mother, and, above all, with her punctuality. She had 
been warned beforehand by her husband that, to please 
his father, she must be always ready for family prayers, 
which were read every morning by him just t before 
breakfast. This she succeeded in doing, never failing 
once to be on time. As breakfast was at seven o'clock, 
it was no small feat for one not accustomed to such early 
hours. She said afterward that she did not believe that 
General Lee would have an entirely high opinion of any 
person, even General Washington, if he could return to 
earth, if he were not ready for prayers ! After a delightful 
visit of three weeks my brother and his wife returned 

MRS. R. E. LEE 331 

home. Just as the latter was packing, my father came 
into her room and filled all the space in the top of her 
trunk with pecan nuts, which some friend had sent him 
from the South. 

The hour fixed for the service in the college chapel was, 
as I have said, a quarter to eight o'clock every morning 
except Sunday. In the three winter months, December, 
January, and February, it was one hour later. As the 
president never failed to attend, when not prevented by 
sickness or absence, it was necessary to have an early 
breakfast. After chapel he went to his office and was 
seated at his desk by eight o'clock, where he remained, 
unless called out by public business, till two p. m. This 
room was open to all in the college who had business with 
him. The new students were required to report to him 
here in person, and from their first interviews he obtained 
a knowledge of the young men of which he availed himself 
in their future career in the college. As president, he 
was always disposed to be lenient with students who were 
reported for disorderly conduct or for failure in their 
studies or duties. He would say to the faculty, when 
they seemed to think it necessary to send a student 

" Don't you think it would be better to bear with him 
a little longer? Perhaps we may do him some good." 

Being sent for to this office was anything but pleasant 
to the students. Lewis, one of the janitors, went around 
with the names of those the president wanted to see, 
written by his own hand on a long slip of paper. He 
carried the paper in one hand, a pencil in the other, and 
when he could find the one he wanted in a crowd of his 
comrades, he took special pleasure in serving his notice, 
and would say in his solemn, sepulchral voice : 


" Mr. , the president wants to see you at the office." 

Then Mr. took the pencil and made a cross -mark 

opposite his name, which was evidence of his having 
received his summons. What transpired at these inter- 
views was seldom known, except as the student himself 
might reveal it; for unless it became necessary to sum- 
mon the delinquent a second time, the president never 
alluded to the subject. An- old student writes me the 
following account of his experience in the president's 

" I was a frolicsome chap at college, and, having been 
absent from class an unreasonable number of times, was 
finally summoned to the General's office. Abject terror 
took possession of me in the presence of such wise and 
quiet dignity; the reasons I had carefully prepared to 
give for my absence stood on their heads, or toppled over. 
In reply to General Lee's grave but perfectly polite ques- 
tion, I stammered out a story about a violent illness, and 
then, conscious that I was at that moment the picture of 
health, I hastened on with something about leaving my 
boots at the cobbler's, when General Lee interrupted me : 

1 Stop, Mr.M ,' he said ; ' stop, sir ! One good reason is 

enough. ' But I could not be mistaken about the twinkle 
in the old hero's eyes!" 

Only a few cases required more than one summons to 
appear at the office. No instance is known where a stu- 
dent complained of injustice or harshness, and the effect 
on his mind was that of greater respect and admiration 
for the president. 

The new house was approaching completion, and my 
father was much interested in the work, going there very 
often and discussing with the workmen their methods. 
That Christmas I spent two weeks in Lexington, and 

MRS. R. E. LEE 333 

many times my father took me all over the new building, 
explaining all the details of his plan. All of his family 
were here together this Christmas except Fitzhugh and 
his wife, an occurrence rather rare of late years. My 
father's health was unusually good, and he was bright 
and almost gay. He rode out often, taking me with him, 
as it was too cold for the girls. He also took me around 
with him visiting, and in the mild festivities of the neigh- 
bours he joined with evident pleasure. My visit ended 
all too soon, and the first week of January I started back 
to the "low country." Soon after my departure, he for- 
warded a letter to me with the accompanying one of his 
own : 

" Lexington, Virginia, January 14, 1869. 
" My Dear Rob: The accompanying letter was inclosed 
to me by Lawrence Butler* with the request that I would 
forward it, as he did not know your address, and urge you 
to be present at his wedding. I do not know that I can 
say more, except to inform you that he says he has the 
very girl for you if you will come on. You must therefore 
decide the question according to your best judgment. 
General Hoke, from North Carolina, has also sent you his 
wedding-cards. We have missed you very much since 
your departure, and wished you back. I hope you got 
home comfortably and found all well. Drive all your 
work with judgment and energy, and when you have 
decided about the house, let me know. Tell Fitzhugh I 
have signed the insurance policy and sent it to Mr. Wick- 
ham for his signature, with the request that he forward it 
to Grubb & Williams. The weather still continues pleas- 
ant, and I fear we shall suffer for it by the late spring. 
There has so far been a great lack of snow, and conse- 
quently the wheat is exposed to the great changes of tem- 

* The grandson of Nellie Custis, my grandfather's sister, who married 
Lawrence Lewis, the favourite nephew of Washington. 


perature. We are all as you left us. Custis, I think, 
looks better. No news. Mail heavy this morning. 

Love to F and T . With great affection, 

"Your father, 

"R. E. Lee. 
"R. E. Lee, Jr." 

Some one wrote to General Lee suggesting that 
General Grant, then the president of the United States, 
should be invited to Washington College. His reply was 
as follows: 

"Lexington, Virginia, January 8, 1869. 
" My Dear Sir: I am much obliged to you for your let- 
ter of the 29th ult., which I am sure has been prompted 
by the best motives. I should be glad if General Grant 
would visit Washington College, and I should endeavour 
to treat him with the courtesy and respect due the Presi- 
dent of the United States ; but if I were to invite him to 
do so, it might not be agreeable to him, and I fear my 
motives might be misunderstood at this time, both by 
himself and others, and that evil would result instead of 
good. I will, however, bear your suggestion in mind, 
and should a favourable opportunity offer I shall be glad 
to take advantage of it. Wishing you happiness and 
prosperity, I am, Very respectfully, 

"Your obedient servant, 

"R. E. Lee." 

A lady living in New York wrote to General Lee in 
1867, asking for a catalogue of Washington College and a 
copy of its charter and laws. She wished also to know 
whether or not the college was sectarian, and, if so, of what 
denomination. She intimated that she desired to make 
a donation to some institution of learning, and was rather 
inclined to select the Episcopal Theological Seminary, 
near Alexandria, Virginia. The president sent her the 
following reply to her letter: 

MRS. R. E. LEE 335 

" Lexington, Virginia, June 24, 1867. 
"Miss Ann Upshur Jones, 

"No. 156 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, N. Y. 
"My Dear Madam: I have had the honour to receive 
your letter of the 17th inst., and I send to your address a 
catalogue of Washington College and a copy of its charter 
and laws. On the thirty-seventh page of the former, and 
the eleventh of the latter, you will find what is prescribed 
on the subject of religion. I do not know that it ever 
has been sectarian in its character since it was chartered 
as a college ; but it certainly is not so now. Located in a 
Presbyterian community, it is natural that most of its 
trustees and faculty should be of that denomination, 
though the rector, president, and several of the professors 
are members of the Episcopal Church. It is furthest 
from my wish to divert any donation from the Theo- 
logical Seminary at Alexandria, for I am well acquainted 
with the merits of that institution, have a high respect for 
its professors, and am an earnest advocate of its object. 
I only give you the information you desire, and wish you 
to follow your own preferences in the matter. With 
great respect, 

"Your obedient servant, 

"R. E. Lee." 

In 1869 she wrote again, stating that she proposed 
breaking up housekeeping, that she had no family to 
whom to give her books, furniture, and silver, that she 
did not wish to sell them nor store them away, and had 
therefore determined to present them to the "greatest 
living man," and she begged him to accept them, or, if 
his house was already furnished, to make use of them in 
his college. To this letter he replied : 

"Lexington, Virginia, February 13, 1869. 
" My Dear Miss Jones: After long and diligent inquiry 
I only this moment learned your address, and have been 


during this time greatly mortified at my inability to 
acknowledge the receipt and disposition of your valuable 
and interesting donation to Washington College. The 
books were arranged in the library on their arrival, the 
globes in the philosophical department, while the furni- 
ture, carpets, sofas, chairs, etc., have been applied to the 
furnishing of the dais of the audience-room of the new 
chapel, to the comfort and ornament of which they are a 
great addition. I have yet made no disposition of the 
plate and tableware, and they are still in the boxes in 
which they came. I inclose the resolution of thanks 
passed by the Board of Trustees of the College at their 
annual meeting, to which I beg to add my personal 
acknowledgments and grateful sense of your favour and 
kindness to this institution. It would give me great 
pleasure if you would visit Lexington at the commence- 
ment in June next, the third Thursday, that I might then 
show you the successful operation of the college. Mrs. 
Lee joins me in sentiments of esteem and regard, praying 
that the great and merciful God may throw around you 
His protecting care and love. I am, with great respect, 

"Your obedient servant, 

"R. E. Lee. 
"Miss Ann Upshur Jones, 

"No. 38 Union Square, New York." 

The plate, tableware, and a curious old work-table, for 
which no place could be found in the college, valuable 
only on account of their antiquity and quaintness, he 
finally allowed to be called his own. 

When my mother hurriedly left her home in the spring 
of 1 86 1, she found it impossible to carry away the valu- 
able relics of General Washington which her father had 
inherited from Mount Vernon, and which had been objects 
of great interest at Arlington for more than fifty years. 
After the Federal authorities took possession of the place, 
the most valuable of these Mount Vernon relics were con- 

MRS. R. E. LEE 337 

veyed to Washington City and placed in the Patent Office, 
where they remained on exhibition for many years labelled 
"Captured from Arlington." They were then removed 
to the " National Museum," where they are now, but the 
card has been taken off. In 1869, a member of Congress 
suggested to my mother that she should apply to Presi- 
dent Johnson to have them restored to her. In a letter 
from my father to this same gentleman, this bit of quiet 
humour occurs: 

"Lexington, Virginia, February 12, 1869. 
". . . Mrs. Lee has determined to act upon your 
suggestion and apply to President Johnson for such of the 
relics from Arlington as are in the Patent Office. From 
what I have learned, a great many things formerly belong- 
ing to General Washington, bequeathed to her by her 
father, in the shape of books, furniture, camp equipage, 
etc., were carried away by individuals and are now scat- 
tered over the land. I hope the possessors appreciate 
them and may imitate the example of their original 
owners, whose conduct must at times be brought to their 
recollection by these silent monitors. In this way they 
will accomplish good to the country. . . ." 

He refers to this same subject in a letter to the 
Honourable George W. Jones, Dubuque, Iowa: 

". . . In reference to certain articles which were 
taken from Arlington, about which you inquire, Mrs. Lee 
is indebted to our old friend Captain James May for the 
order from the present administration for their restora- 
tion to her. Congress, however, passed a resolution for- 
bidding their return. They were valuable to her as 
having belonged to her great -grandmother (Mrs. General 
Washington) , and having been bequeathed to her by her 
father. But as the country desires them, she must give 
them up. I hope their presence at the capital will keep 


in the remembrance of all Americans the principles and 
virtues of Washington. . . ." 

To the Honourable Thomas Lawrence Jones, who 
endeavoured to have the order to restore the relics to 
Mrs. Lee executed, the following letter of thanks was 
written : 

"Lexington, Virginia, March 29, 1869. 
" Honourable Thomas Lawrence Jones, 

" Washington City, District of Columbia. 
"My Dear Sir: I beg to be allowed to tender you my 
sincere thanks for your efforts to have restored to Mrs. 
Lee certain family relics in the Patent Office in Washing- 
ton. The facts related in your speech in the House of 
Representatives on the 3d inst., so far as known to me, 
are correct, and had I conceived the view taken of the 
matter by Congress I should have endeavoured to dis- 
suade Mrs. Lee from applying for them. It may be a 
question with some whether the retention of these articles 
is more ' an insult, ' in the language of the Committee on 
Public Buildings, 'to the loyal people of the United 
States,' than their restoration; but of this I am willing 
that they should be the judge, and since Congress has 
decided to keep them, she must submit. However, her 
thanks to you, sir, are not the less fervent for your kind 
intercession in her behalf, and with highest regards, I am, 
with great respect, 

" Your obedient servant, 

"R. E. Lee." 

Washington's opinion of this transaction, if it could be 
obtained, would be of interest to many Americans ! * 

*These relics were restored to the family in 1903 by the order 
of President McKinley. 


Lee's Letters to His Sons 

the building of robert's house the general as 

a railroad delegate lionised in baltimore 

calls on president grant visits alexandria 

declines to be interviewed interested in his 

grandson the washington portraits 

My father, being very anxious that I should build a 
good house on my farm, had agreed to supply the 
necessary means, and was interested in my plans 
and estimates. In a letter of February 18th, after a 
long and full explanation of the arrangements for the 
purchase of Smith's Island by Fitzhugh and myself, he 
writes : 

". . . I am glad that you are considering the 
construction of your house and taking steps in 
the matter. Let me know how you advance, the 
amount of its cost, etc., and when I can help you. 
. The fine weather we have had this winter 
must have enabled you to advance in your farm 
work and put you ahead in that, so you will come 
out square, I hope. We are as usual, your poor 
mother about the same, the girls well, and I tolerable. 
All unite in much love. 

" Truly and affectionately, 

"R. E. Lee." 

A week later he writes to me on the same subject : 



"Lexington, Virginia, February 27, 1869. 

"My Dear Son: lam glad you have obtained a 
good pair of oxen. Try to get another pair to work 
with them. I will make good the deficit in my con- 
tribution. Your fences will be a great advantage 
to you, and I am delighted at the good appearance 
of your wheat. I hope it will continue to maturity. 
It is very probable, as you say, however, that it 
may fail in the grain. Should you find it so, would 
it not be well next year to experiment with phos- 
phates ? That must be the quality the land lacks. Have 
you yet heard from Mr. West about your house ? What 
are the estimates? Let me know. The difficulty I fear 
now will be that the burning of the bricks may draw you 
away from your crops. You must try not to neglect 
them. What would the bricks cost if purchased? Ask 

F— to cut the lumber for you. I will furnish the funds 

to pay for it. I hope the break in the mill may not prove 
serious, and that you may be able to make up your delay 
in plowing occasioned by the necessary hauling. I am 

very glad to hear that you and F can visit each other 

so easily. It will be advantageous to communicate with 
each other, as well as a pleasure. I suppose Tabb has 
not returned to the White House yet. I am delighted 
to hear that she and her boy are so well. They will 
make everything on the Pamunkey shine. We are all 
as usual. 

" General Breckenridge* is on a visit to his sons and has 
been with us to-day. He will return to Baltimore Mon- 
day. He looks well, seems cheerful, and talks hopefully. 
All unite in love to you, and your acquaintances inquire 
regularly after you. I think of you very often, and wish 
I were nearer and could assist you. Custis is in better 
health this winter than he has been, and seems content, 
though his sisters look after him very closely. I have no 

* General John C. Breckenridge, of Kentucky, ex-Secretary of 
War of the Confederate States, had two sons at Washington College 
at this time. One of them was since United States Minister at the 
Court of St. Petersburg. 


news and never have. General B saw Fitzhugh Lee 

in Alexandria. He told him he was a great farmer now, 
and when he was away, his father, who had now taken 
to the land, showed uncommon signs of management. 
Good-bye, my dear son. May you enjoy every happiness 
prays Your affectionate father, 

"R. E. Lee. 
"Robert E. Lee, Jr." 

The completion of the railroad from the "White 
House" to "West Point" made communication between 
Fitzhugh and myself very easy. On February nth, my 
father had become the proud and happy possessor of a 
grandson, which event gave him great joy. Mr. West, 
an architect of Richmond, had drawn me up p^lans and 
estimates for a house. My father had also sent me 
a plan drawn by himself. These plans I had submitted 
to several builders and sent their bids to him to ex- 
amine and consider. In the following letter, he gives me 
his opinion : 

"Lexington, Virginia, March 21, 1869. 

" My Dear Rob: I have received your two letters of the 
3d and 9th insts., and would have answered the former 
before, but had written a few days before its date, and 
as our letters had been crossing each other, I determined 
to let them get right. 

" First, as to Smith's Island, I merely want to fulfil the 
conditions of the sale as prescribed in the published notice. 
I should have required them of any other purchasers, and 
must require them of you. . . . 

" Now as for the house : The estimates of your bidders 
are higher than I anticipated, and I think too high by at 
least $1,000. You see, there is about $1,000 difference 
between the highest and lowest of their offers you sent 


me. What does F say about it? I am confident 

that I could build that house here for but little over 
$2,000, including materials, and I could do it there, if 
I could get two good workmen. But you are unaccus- 
tomed to building, and I would not advise you to under- 
take it, unless you could engage a proper foreman. If, 
therefore, I were in your place, I should reject all the 
offers, unless the one you had not received when you 
wrote suited better. I would not, however, give up my 
house, but procure the bricks either by purchase or by 
making them on the ground, as was most advantageous, 
and the shingles in the same way, and get all the lumber 
and flooring prepared. While preparing the necessary 
materials, I would see the builder that made the lowest 
offer, or any other that I preferred, and get him to revise 
his estimate and cut it down, leaving him a margin for 
profit ; and when satisfied with his offer, accept it and set 
him to work. 

" Now as for the means : I understood when you were 
here that you could manage the materials — that is, make 
arrangements for procuring the bricks, lumber, shingles, 
and flooring. Indeed, you might also get the lime and 
sand cheaper, perhaps, than the builder, and make a 
deduction on his bill. I can let you have funds to pay 
your contractor. If I did not understand you rightly — 
that is, if you cannot procure the materials, I can help 
you in them too. In fact, if you desire so much, I can 
let you have the whole amount, $3,500. You can have 
the use of it without interest, and return it to me when I 
require it, or sooner if you are able, as I take it from the 
fund I was saving for a homestead for your mother. At 
present, I cannot use it, and it is of no advantage to me, 
except its possession. Will that suit you ? If it does not, 
let me know what will, and you shall have that, too. 
You must feel that it gives me pleasure to do anything 
I can for you, and if I had only myself to consider, you 
should have it unconditionally, but I must consider one 
person above all. I want you to do, therefore, just as 


you prefer. I want you to have the comfort of a house, 
but I do not wish to force one upon you, against your 
will or against your judgment. I merely wish you to 
feel that you can procure one without inconveniencing 
me. The only hesitation I have on the subject is that 
I think you ought to get a better house for $3,500 
than I fear you will get. The house according to the 
first plan, in my opinion, ought not to cost more than that 
sum. But if you think the estimate is a fair one, and 
are satisfied, accept it and set to work. But consult 
Fitzhugh, and let me know when you want the money, 
and in what sums. Now that is plain, I hope, so keep 
this letter for reference, as I have not time to take a 

"We are all pretty well. Your mother has been 
• r oubled by a cold, but is over it I hope. The girls are 
well, and have as many opinions with as few acts as ever ; 
and Custis so-so. We have had accounts of Lawrence 
Butler's wedding, and all were as gay as a flock of snow- 
birds. They regretted your absence. I will ask your 
mother to send you reports. I am tolerable and wish 
I could get down to see you. I had hoped to go down 
this spring, but I fear the dilatoriness of the workmen 
in finishing the house, and the necessity of my attending 
to it, getting the grounds inclosed and preparing the 
garden, will prevent me. I shall also have to superintend 
the moving. In fact, it never seems convenient for me 

to go away. Give much love to F , my daughter 

Tabb, and grandson. I wonder what he will think of his 
grandpa. All unite in love, and I am, as always, 

"Your affectionate father, R. E. Lee. 

"Robert E. Lee, Jr." 

In April, there are two letters written on the same day, 
to each of his sons, Fitzhugh and myself. I had deter- 
mined for many reasons to postpone building my house 
for the present, which decision my father regrets. In 
the matter of Smith's Island, the arrangement proposed 


by my brother and myself for its purchase was agreed 
to by him: 

" Lexington, Virginia, April 17, 1869. 
" My Dear Rob: I have written to Fitzhugh, informing 
him of my agreement to all the propositions in your joint 
letter, which I hope will be satisfactory to you. You 
can read my letter to him, so I will not repeat. I am 
sorry that you have concluded not to build, but if, in 
your judgment, that is the best course, I must be content. 
I do not wish you to hamper yourself with obligations, but 
to my mind building in the way proposed would not be 
onerous to you and would have given you the use of a 
house some years prior to the time that you may be able 
to erect one, and thus have added to your comfort, 
health, and probable ability to increase your resources 
from your farm. But I hope you have decided wisely, 
and should circumstances occur to cause you to change 
your views, you must not fail to let me know; for I shall 
at all times stand ready to help you to the extent of my 
ability, which I am now obliged to husband, lest I may 
become a burden to others. I am very glad to learn that 
your farm is promising better in the second cultivation of 
the fields, and feel assured that if treated judiciously it 
will recover its fertility and be remunerative. If you can 
perceive that you are progressing, though with a slow 
and regular step, you have cause for congratulation and 
encouragement; for there are many, I am sorry to say, 
that are worse off now than when they commenced at 
the end of the war, and have to begin again. Industry 
with economy must prevail in the end. There seems to 
be a necessity for my going to Baltimore next Tuesday, 
but I feel so poorly now that I do not know that I shall 
be able. If I do go, it will interfere materially with my 
proposed visit to you and Fitzhugh this spring, and I 
fear will put an end to it. I shall be obliged to spend 
some days in Alexandria on my return, and could not 
then delay my rettirn here. I hope to see you both some 



time this summer, and, if I cannot get to you, you must 
come to me. I have been confined to the house for 
more than a week with a bad cold, the effects of which 
still cling to me, and, though I am better this morning, 
I am suffering. Your mother, too, I am sorry to say, has 
been suffering from the same cause, and has had to resort 
to medicine, as well as myself. You know that is bad for 
old people. Agnes has not been well, but Mildred is 
herself, and surrounded by her two fresh broods of 
kittens she would not call the king her uncle . . . 
God bless you, my dear son, prays 

"Your affectionate father, R. E. Lee. 

"R. E. Lee, Jr." 

The letter to his son Fitzhugh is mostly upon business, 
but some of it relates to more interesting matters : 

"Lexington, Virginia, April 17, 1869. 
" My Dear Fitzhugh: I expect to go to Baltimore next 
Tuesday, if well enough. The Valley Railroad Company 
are very anxious for me to accompany their delegation 
to that city with a view of obtaining from the mayor or 
council a subscription for their road, and, though I 
believe I can be of no service to them, they have made 
such a point of it that it would look ill-mannered and 
unkind to refuse. I wish I could promise myself the 
pleasure of returning by the ' White House, ' but I cannot. 
If I go to Baltimore, I must take time to pay certain 
visits and must stop a while in Alexandria. I shall, 
therefore, from there be obliged to return here. If I 
could stop there on my way to Baltimore, which I cannot 
for want of time, I would then return by the 'White 
House. ' I shall hope, however, to see you and Rob during 
the summer, if I have to go down immediately after 
commencement. But it is so inconvenient for me to 
leave home now that I cannot say. . . . Poor little 
Agnes also has been visited by Doctor Barton of late, but 
she is on the mend. 'Life' holds her own. Both of 


her cats have fresh broods of kittens, and the world wags 
cheerily with her. Custis is well, and Mary is still in 
New York, and all unite with me in much love to you 
and my daughter Tabb and my grandson. I hope the 
latter has not formed the acquaintance of his father in 
the same manner as Warrington Carter's child. 

"Your affectionate father, R. E. Lee. 

"General Wm. H. Fitzhugh Lee." 

In order to induce the city of Baltimore to aid them 
in building their railroad from Staunton to Salem, the 
Valley Railroad Company got together a large delegation 
from the counties through which it was proposed the 
line should pass, and sent it to that city to lay the plans 
before the mayor and council and request assistance. 
Among those selected from Rockbridge County was 
General Lee. Lexington at this time was one of the 
most inaccessible points in Virginia. Fifty miles of 
canal, or twenty-three of staging over a rough mountain 
road, were the only routes in existence. The one from 
Lynchburg consumed twelve hours, the other, from 
Goshen (a station on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad), 
from seven to eleven. On one occasion, a gentleman 
during his first visit to Lexington called on General Lee 
and on bidding him good-bye asked him the best way 
to get back to Washington. 

"It makes but little difference," replied the General, 
"for whichever route you select, you will wish you had 
taken the other." 

It was, therefore, the desire of all interested in the 
welfare of the two institutions of learning located in 
Lexington that this road should be built. My father's 
previous habits of life, his nature and his tastes made 
him averse to engaging in affairs of this character ; but 


because of the great advantage to the college, should it be 
carried through, and at the earnest request of many 
friends of his and of the road, he consented to act. General 
John Echols, from Staunton, Colonel Pendleton, from 
Buchanan, Judge McLaughlin, from Lexington, were 
amongst those who went with him. While in Baltimore 
he stayed at the house of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Tagart, 
whom he had met several summers at the White Sulphur 

The delegation was invited to the floor of the Corn 
and Flour Exchange, to meet the business men of the 
city. My father, for the same reasons given above, 
earnestly desired to be excused from this part of the 
programme, and asked some of his friends to see Mr. 
John W. Garrett, the president of the Baltimore & 
Ohio Railroad, who had the delegation in charge, and 
try to have it so arranged. Mr. Garrett, however, was 
very positive. 

"General Lee is a most interesting man; I think he 
had better come," was the message brought back to him. 

As he appeared on the floor, which was rilled with a 
great crowd, he was greeted with deafening cheers, and 
was soon surrounded by the thousands who had assembled 
there to see him. Everywhere that he appeared in the 
city he received an ovation. Sunday intervening, he 
attended service in the morning at St. Paul's church on 
Charles Street. When it became known that General 
Lee was there, large numbers collected to see him come 
out, waiting patiently and quietly until the congregation 
was dismissed. As he appeared at the door, all heads 
were uncovered and kept so until he had passed through 
the long lines extending down the street. 

A reception was given by Mr. Tagart in his honour. 


There his friends crowded to see him, and the greatest 
affection and deference were shown him. He had lived in 
Baltimore about twenty years before this time, and 
many of his old friends were still there ; besides, Baltimore 
had sent to the Army of Northern Virginia a large body 
of her noble sons, who were only too glad to greet once 
more their former commander. That he was still "a 
prisoner on parole," disfranchised from all civil rights, 
made their love for him stronger and their welcome 
the more hearty. On his return to Lexington, he 
was asked how he enjoyed his visit. With a sad 
smile, he said: 

" Very much ; but they would make too much fuss over 
the old rebel." 

A few days after he came home, when one of his 
daughters remonstrated with him about the hat he was 
wearing, he replied: 

"You don't like this hat? Why, I have seen a whole 
cityf ul come out to admire it ! " 

There is only a short note to my mother that I can 
find written during this trip: 

"Baltimore, April 27, 1869. 
"My Dear Mary: I am still at Mr. Tagart's, but 
propose going to-morrow to Ella's, and thence to Wash- 
ington's, which will consume Wednesday and Thursday. 
If not obliged to return here, which I cannot tell till this 
evening or to-morrow morning, I will then go to Wash- 
ington, where I shall be obliged to spend a day or two, 
and thence to Alexandria, so I shall not be able to return 
to Lexington till the last of next week. What has become 
of little Agnes ? I have seen many of our old friends, of 
whom I will tell you on my return. I have bought you 
a little carriage, the best I could find, which I hope will 
enable you to take some pleasant rides. All send love. 


Give mine to Mildred, and Custis, and all friends. I am 
just about starting to Mrs. Baker's. 

"Truly and affectionately, R. E. Lee. 
"Mrs. M. C. Lee," 

The "Ella" mentioned was Mrs. Sam George, of 
Baltimore, who as a girl had always been a pet and 
favourite of my father. She was a daughter of his first 
cousin, Mr. Charles Henry Carter, of "Goodwood," 
Prince George County, Maryland, and a schoolmate of 
my sister Mary. Their country place was near Ellicott 
City. He went there to see her, and from there to " Lyn- 
wood," near by, the seat of Washington Peter, my 
mother's first cousin and an intimate friend of us all. 

On Saturday, my father, accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. 
Tagart, went to Washington on an early train. They 
drove immediately to the Executive Mansion and called 
on the President. This meeting was of no political 
significance whatever, but simply a call of courtesy. 
It had been intimated to General Lee that it would be 
most agreeable to General Grant to receive him. Mr. 
and Mrs. Tagart went with him, and they met there Mr. 
Motley, the newly appointed Minister to England. The 
interview lasted about fifteen minutes, and neither 
General Lee nor the President spoke a word on political 
matters. While in Washington my father was the guest 
of Mrs. Kennon, of Tudor Place, Georgetown Heights. 
On Sunday he dined with Mrs. Podestad and her husband, 
the Secretary of the Spanish Legation, who were old 
friends and relatives. 

After leaving Washington, he stopped in Alexandria 
for several days, as the guest of Mrs. A. M. Fitzhugh. It 
was at her country place, "Ravens worth," about ten 
miles from town, that his mother had died, and there, in 


the old ivy-covered graveyard, she was buried. Mrs. 
Fitzhugh was the wife of my mother's uncle, Mr. William 
Henry Fitzhugh, who, having no children, had made my 
mother his heir. The intimacy between " Arlington " 
and ' ' Ravensworth ' ' was very close. Since Mr. Fitzhugh's 
death, which occurred some thirty years prior to this 
time, my father and mother and their children had been 
thrown a great deal with his widow, and "Aunt Maria," 
as we called her, became almost a member of the family. 
She had the greatest love and admiration for " Robert, " 
sought his advice in the management of her estate, and 
trusted him implicitly. His brother, Admiral Sidney 
Smith Lee, came up from "Richland," his home on the 
Potomac near Acquia Creek, to meet him, and he found 
at Mrs. Fitzhugh's "Aunt Nannie"* and her son Fitz. 
Lee. This was the first time they had met each other 
since their parting in Richmond just after the war. 

On his arrival in Alexandria my father had walked up 
from the wharf to "Aunt Maria's." He was recognised 
by a number of citizens, who showed him the greatest 
deference and respect. So many of his friends called upon 
him at Mrs. Fitzhugh's that it was arranged to have a 
reception for him at the Mansion House. For three 
hours a constant stream of visitors poured into the 
parlours. The reception was the greatest ovation that 
any individual had received from the people of Alexandria 
since the days of Washington. The next day, in Bishop 
Johns' carriage, he drove out to Seminary Hill to the 
home of Mr. Cassius F. Lee, his first cousin, where he 
spent the night. In the afternoon he went to see the 
bishop and his family — General Cooper and the Reverend 
Dr. Packard. The next morning, with Uncle Smith, he 

♦Mrs. S. S. Lee. 


attended Ascension- Day services at Christ church, and 
was afterward entertained at a dinner-party given by 
Mt John B. Daingerfield. Before he left Alexandria 
he called on Mr. John Janney, who was president of the 
Virginia Convention in 1861, when, as Colonel Lee, he 
appeared before it and accepted the command of the 
Virginia forces, organised and to be organised. 

One evening a correspondent of the New York Herald 
paid him a visit for the purpose of securing an interview. 
The General was courteous and polite, but very firm. 
He stood during the interview, and finally dismissed the 
reporter, saying: 

" I shall be glad to see you "as a friend, but request 
that the visit may not be made in your professional 

The same correspondent had tried to interview him, for 
his paper, while he was in Baltimore, but had failed. 

My father was much amused at an occurrence that 
took place during this visit. Late one afternoon a visitor 
was announced. As the General was very tired, Uncle 
Smith Lee volunteered to relieve him. The visitor was 
found to be an Irishwoman, very stout and unprepos- 
sessing, who asked if she could see the General. The 
Admiral bowed, intimating that he was the desired 
person, when she said: 

' 'My boy was with you in the war, honey, and I must 
kiss you for his sake." And with that she gave the 
Admiral an embrace and a kiss. Mr. Cassius Lee, to 
whom he told this, suggested that he should take 
General Fitz. Lee along to put forward in such 

My father's first letter after his return to Lexington 
was the following: 


" Lexington, Virginia, May n, 1869. 
"My Dear Fitzhugh: I reached here last Saturday, 
bringing Agnes and Miss Peyton with me from Staunton. 
Found everybody well and Custis better. I had, upon 
the whole, a pleasant visit, and was particularly glad to 
see again our old friends and neighbours in Alexandria 
and vicinity; though should have preferred to enjoy 
their company in a more quiet way. Your Uncle Smith 
came up to meet me, and your Aunt Nannie and Fitz. 
were there. I had not seen them since I parted from 
them in Richmond after the war. I wish I could have 
visited you and Rob and have seen my daughter and 
grandson; but that pleasure, I trust, is preserved for a 
future day. How is the little fellow? I was much 
relieved after parting from you to hear from the doctors 
that it was the best time for him to have the whooping- 
cough, in which opinion the 'Mim' concurs. I hope 
that he is doing well. Bishop Whittle will be here Friday 
next and is invited to stay with us. There are to be a 
great many preparatory religious exercises this week. 
A great feeling of religion pervades the young in the 
community, especially at the Virginia Military Institute. 
All send love. 

''Your affectionate father, 

"R. E. Lee." 

Since his establishment in Lexington, General Lee 
had been a member of the vestry of Grace (Episcopal) 
church. At the council of 1868, which met at Lynch- 
burg, he had been sent as a delegate, and spent three days 
there. This year the council was to meet in Fredericks- 
burg, and he was again elected to represent his church. 
This was a busy time with him. The examinations were 
commencing, his new home was about ready to move 
into, and the preparations for the commencement exer- 
cises had to be made; yet he accepted the trust imposed 
upon him by his church and took a week out of his valu- 


able time to perform it. In his next letter to his son, 
after writing on some Smith's Island business, he tells 
him of his proposed journey to Fredericksburg and of 
his regret at not being able to visit him as he had intended : 

"Lexington, Virginia, May 22, 1869. 

11 My Dear Fitzhugh: The weather here has been very 
hard on the corn-fields, and I hear of many having to be 
replanted. The wheat, so far, is very promising, and I 
am glad to hear that yours and Rob's is equally so. I 
have been elected by our little church to represent it at 
the coming convention, and have concluded to go. I 
shall leave for Fredericksburg Tuesday, June 1st, and 
shall endeavour while there to spend a night with your 
Uncle Smith, the only visit I shall be able to make him. 
It is very inconvenient for me to be absent at this time. 
The examination of the senior classes, is in progress, and 
I must hasten back to attend as many as I can. The 
new house is about finished. The contractors say they 
will deliver the keys on Monday, the 31st inst. I will 
make arrangements to have it cleaned out during the 
week, so as to be able to move in on my return. The 
commencement, a busy time with me, is approaching, 
and we must try to be prepared. I shall not, therefore, 
be able to pay you a visit at this time, but hope Custis 
and I will be able to do so after the close of the session. 
I met Bishop Whittle at Lynchburg last convention, 
and was much pleased with him. My favourable im- 
pressions were much strengthened and increased by this 
visit here. 

" I am so glad to learn that my little grandson is getting 
on so well with his whooping-cough. You must kiss 
him and his mother for me. We are all about the same. 
Your mother is becoming interested in her painting 
again, and is employing her brush for the benefit of our 
little church, which is very poor. She yet awhile con- 
fines herself to colouring photographs, and principally 
to those of General and Mrs. Washington, which are sold 


very readily. The girls are well, and have Miss Peyton 
with them still. Custis, I hope, is better. He is getting 
over some of his confinement with his classes now, which 
I hope will be of benefit to him. Give my love to Robert 
and tell my daughter Tabb I long to see her. All unite 
with me in affectionate love. I am, 

"Truly your father, 

"R. E. Lee." 

These photographs that were being coloured by my 
mother were from the original portraits of General 

Washington by Peale and of Mrs. Washington by W . 

These paintings hung at Mt. Vernon until the death of 
Mrs. Washington, and were then inherited by my grand- 
father, Mr. Custis. They were at " Arlington" till '61, 
when they were removed to "Ravensworth," where they 
remained until the end of the war. When they were being 
sent to Lexington, the boat carrying them on the canal 
between Lynchburg and Lexington sank. These pictures, 
with many others belonging to my mother, were very 
much injured and had to be sent to a restorer in Balti- 
more, who made them as good as ever, and they were 
finally safely hung in the president's house in Lexington, 
and are now in the library of the university. My mother 
coloured the photographs like these originals, and sold a 
great many, on account of their association rather than 
their merit. 

There must have been some change of date in my 
father's plans, for though he said he would start on June 
ist for Fredericksburg, his first and only letter from there 
was written on May 28th: 

"Fredericksburg, May 28, 1869. 
" My Dear Mary: I reached here Tuesday night, the 
night after the morning I left you, about twelve o'clock. 


and found Major Barton at the depot, who conducted 
me to his house. The town seems very full of strangers, 
and I have met many acquaintances. I have seen no 
one yet from 'Cedar Grove,' and cannot learn whether 
any of them are coming. They are no doubt in distress 
there, for you may have heard of the death of Charles 
Stuart, on his way from Arkansas. He died at Lynch- 
burg of congestive chills. Harriott Cazenove (his sister) 
went on to see him, but he died before her arrival. Rosalie, 
I heard, was at 'Cedar Grove,' Turbeville in Essex. I 
have delivered all your packages but Margaret's. Cas- 
sius Lee and all from the seminary are here. Sally came 
up from Gloucester, and also Mrs. Taliaferro. But I 
must tell you of all occurrences upon my return, and of 
all whom I have met. All friends inquire very particu- 
larly and affectionately after you, particularly your cousin, 
Mrs. , who turns up ever day at all assemblies, cor- 
ners, and places, with some anxious question on her mind 
upon which some mighty — though to me hidden — impor- 
tance depends. Fitz. Lee arrived to-day, though I have 
not seen him yet. If I can accomplish it, I will go to 
'Richland' to-morrow, Saturday, and spend Sunday, 
and take up my line of march Monday, in which event 
I hope to reach Lexington Wednesday morning, or rather 
Tuesday night, in the stage from Goshen. I may not 
be able to get away from the council before Monday. In 
that case, I shall not arrive before Wednesday night. 
Tell the girls there are quantities of young girls here and 
people of all kinds. I hope that you are all well, and that 
everything will be ready to move into our new house 
upon my arrival. I am obliged to stop. I am so much 
interrupted and occupied that, though I have tried to 
write ever since my arrival, I have been- unable. Love 
to all. 

"Very affectionately, 

"R. E. Lee. 
"Mrs. R. E. Lee." 


"Cedar Grove" was the plantation of Dr. Richard 
Stuart, in King George County, some fifty miles from 
Fredericksburg. His wife, a Miss Calvert, of " Rivers- 
dale," Maryland, was a near cousin of my mother, had 
been her bridesmaid, and the two families, had been 
intimate all their lives. All the persons mentioned by 
my father were cousins and friends, several of them old 
neighbours from Alexandria and the Theological Semi- 
nary near by. 

From Fredericksburg, after the completion of his 
duties at the council, he went to " Richland" on the! 
Potomac, near Acquia Creek, where his brother Smith 
was then living. This meeting was a great pleasure to 
them both, for two brothers were never more devoted. 
This was the last time they saw one another alive, as 
Smith died two months afterward. 


The New Home in Lexington 

numerous guests further sojourns at different 

baths death of the general's brother, smith 

lee visits to " ravensworth " and " the white 

house" meetings with interesting people at 

white sulphur springs death of professor 


On my father's return to Lexington the new house 
was ready. It adjoined the one he had been occupying, 
so the distance was not great and the transfer was easily 
accomplished. It was much larger and more comfortable 
than the one given up. My mother's room was on the 
first floor and opened out on the veranda, extending three 
sides of the house, where she could be rolled in her chair. 
This she enjoyed intensely, for she was very fond of the 
open air, and one could see her there every bright day, 
with Mrs. "RufTner," a much petted cat, sitting on her 
shoulder or cradled in her lap. My father's favourite seat 
was in a deep window of the dining-room, from which 
his eyes could rest on rolling fields of grass and grain, 
bounded by the ever-changing mountains. After his 
early and simple dinner, he usually took a nap of a few 
minutes, sitting upright in his chair, his hand held and 
rubbed by one of his daughters. There was a new stable, 
warm and sunny, for Traveller and his companion, 
"Lucy Long," a cow-house, wood-shed, garden, and yard, 



all planned, laid out, and built by my father. The 
increased room enabled him to invite a greater number 
to visit him, and this summer the house was full. 

In answer to a letter from me on business, which 
reached him during commencement week, he writes: 

"Lexington, Virginia, June 19, 1869. 

"My Dear Son: I have just received your letter of the 
10th, and have only time for a word. ... I hope 
all things are going well with you both. With the im- 
provement of your farm, proceeds will increase, and, 
with experience, judgment, and economy, will augment 
greatly. You will have to get married if you wish to 
prosper, and must therefore make arrangements to build 
your house this fall. If I live through this coming week, 

I wish to pay you and F a visit the week following, 

about July 1st. I am trying to persuade Custis to accom- 
pany me, but he has not yet responded. I am very 
much occupied with examinations, visitors, arrange- 
ments, etc. 

"All are well, and would send love if accessible. Mil- 
dred is full of housekeeping and dresses, and the house 
is full of young ladies — Misses Jones, Albert, Burwell, 
Fairfax, and Wickham ; others in expectation. Good-bye, 
"Affectionately your father, 

"R. E. Lee. 

"Robert E. Lee, Jr." 

Ten days later, he writes to his son, Fitzhugh, giving 
up his proposed visit to him at this time, expressing his 
regrets at the necessity, and telling his reasons for so 
doing : 

"Lexington, Virginia, June 30, 1869. 
" My Dear Fitzhugh: This is the day that I had proposed 
to visit you, but I find it impossible to get away. I find 
a great deal to do in closing up the past session and in 


preparing for the new. In addition, our college officers 
have all been changed — proctor, clerk, treasurer, librarian 
— and the new incumbents enter upon their duties to- 
morrow. I shall have to be with them some days to 
initiate and install them. That would only delay me, 
but then on the 15th proximo the Educational Associa- 
tion of Virginia will meet here, and I should not be able 
to return in time. As I have never attended any of 
their meetings when elsewhere, if I were to go away 
when appointed here it would look as if I wished to 
avoid them, which is not the case. After that is over, 
I must locate your poor mother at the Baths,* which she 
has made up her mind to visit, and prepare to go myself 
to the White Sulphur, the waters of which I want to 
drink for three or four weeks. So I do not see how I 
could get to the Pamunkey before the fall. I want to 
get there very much to see you all, and, as far as my 
personal predilections are concerned, would rather go 
there than to the White ; but the doctors think it would 
not be so beneficial to me, and I am obliged now to con- 
sider my health. I propose, therefore, that you bring 
Tabb and the baby up to the mountains and leave them 
either at the Baths with 'the Mim' or with me, if you 
cannot remain. Tell Rob, if he can, he must also come 
and see us. If he were here, now, he would find very 
pleasant company, Misses Jones, Albert, Kirkland, Burwell, 
Fairfax, and Wickham, all in the house, with others out 
of it. They are so much engaged with the collegiates 
that Custis and I see but little of them, but he could 
compete with the yearlings, which we cannot. Tell my 
daughter Tabb, her father is here, very well, and dined 
with us yesterday. Give my much love to grandson. 
He must not forget me. I have a puppy and a kitten 
for him to play with. All send love. 
"Truly your father, 

"R. E. Lee. 
"General William H. Fitzhugh Lee." 

* Rockbridge Baths. 


In a letter dated Lexington, Virginia, July 9th, he 
gives a further account of his plans for the summer : 

" . . . I have delivered your letter to Mildred, who 
has just returned from a visit to the University of Virginia, 
where she saw a great many persons and met with a great 
deal of pleasure. She ought to be, and I believe is, 
satisfied with commencements for this year, having par- 
ticipated in three. I am sorry to tell you that I cannot 
go down to the Pamunkey this summer as I had intended ; 
. . . I had hoped to be able, after the conclusion of the 
commencement exercises of Washington College, to visit 
the Pamunkey, and to return by the 15th inst. so as to 
be present at the Convention of the Teachers of Virginia, 
which assembles here on that day ; but I was detained here 
so long that I found I would be unable to accomplish 
what I desired. Custis, who was to have accompanied 
me, will go down in a day or two. . . . 

"About the 20th of this month I shall go to the Rock- 
bridge Baths with Mrs. Lee, who wishes to try the waters 
again, and after seeing her comfortably located, if noth- 
ing prevents, I shall go with Mildred and Agnes to the 
White Sulphur for a few weeks. . . . It is delight- 
fully quiet here now. Both institutions have closed, 
and all are off enjoying their holiday. I should like to 
remain, if I could. Colonels Shipp and Harding have 
gone to get married, report says. Colonel Lyle and Captain 
Henderson, it is said, will not return. Captain Preston 
having been appointed professor at William and Mary, 
we shall necessarily lose him, but Colonel Allan will be 
back, and all the rest. We are as well as you left us. 
The girls had several of their friends at commencement. 
All have departed except Miss Fairfax and Miss Wickham. 
The election is over and the town is tranquil." 

The quiet and rest which he so much desired, and 
which he was enjoying when he wrote, did not long 
remain his. He had just gotten my mother comfortably 


settled at the Baths, when he received the news of the 
sudden death of his brother Smith. He went at once to 
Alexandria, hoping to be in time for the burial. From 
there he writes my mother: 

"Alexandria, July 25, 1869. 

" My Dear Mary: I arrived here last evening, too late 
to attend the burial of my dear brother, an account of 
which I have clipped from the Alexandria Gazette and 
inclose to you. I wish you would preserve it. Fitz. 
and Mary went up to ' Ravensworth ' the evening of the 
funeral services, Friday, 23d, so that I have not seen 
them, but my nephew Smith is here, and from him I have 
learned all particulars. The attack of his father was 
short, and his death apparently unexpected until a short 
time before it occurred. Mary* was present, and I hope 
of some comfort to her uncle and assistance to her aunt. 
Fitz. came here the afternoon of his father's death, Thurs- 
day, 2 2d, made all arrangements for the funeral, went 
out to ' Ravensworth ' to announce the intelligence to our 
aunt. He carried down, Friday morning, on the steamer, 
Mrs. Cooper and Jennie, to stay with his mother, and 
returned that afternoon with his father's remains, which 
were committed to earth as you will see described. 

"John returned the next morning, yesterday, in the 
mail-boat, to his mother, with whom Dan stayed. Robert 
arrived this morning and has gone to 'Ravensworth' to 
announce my arrival. I shall remain here until I see or 
hear from Fitz. , for, as you will see by the Gazette's account, 
the last resting-place of the body has not been determined 
upon. Fitz., I understand, wishes it interred at Holly- 
wood, Richmond; Nannie at the cemetery here, where 
her father, mother, and daughter are buried; and Mrs. 
Fitzhugh at 'Ravensworth.' I think Nannie's wishes 
should be consulted. I shall probably leave to-day or 
to-morrow, and, after seeing all that remains to us of our 

* General Lee's eldest daughter. 


dear brother deposited in its last earthly home, and min- 
gling my sorrow for a brief season with that of his dear 
wife and children, I shall return to you. Please send 
this letter after perusal to Agnes and Mildred, as I shall 
be unable to write to them. I am staying at the Mansion 
House. Our Aunt Maria did not come down to the 
funeral services, prevented, I fear, by her rheumatic 
attack. May God bless us all and preserve us for the time 
when we, too, must part, the one from the other, which is 
now close at hand, and may "we all meet again at the foot- 
stool of our merciful God, to be joined by His eternal love 
never more to separate. 

"Most truly and affectionately, 

"R. E. Lee. 
"Mrs. M. C. Lee." 

The loss of his brother was a great sorrow to him. They 
were devoted to each other, having always kept warm 
their boyish love. Smith's admiration for and trust in 
my father were unbounded, and it was delightful to see 
them together and listen to the stories of the happy long 
ago they would tell about each other. No one could be 
near my Uncle Smith without feeling his joyful influence. 
My sister Mary, who knew him long and well, and who 
was much attached to him, thus writes : 

"No one who ever saw him can forget his beautiful 
face, charming personality, and grace of manner which, 
joined to a nobility of character and goodness of heart, 
attracted all who came in contact with him, and made 
him the most generally beloved and popular of men. 
This was especially so with women, to whom his conduct 
was that of a preux chevalier, the most chivalric and cour- 
teous; and, having no daughters of his own, he turned 
with the tenderest affection to the daughters of his brother 



After all the arrangements connected with this sad 
event had been completed, my father went up to 
" Ravensworth " to see "Aunt Maria," who had always 
been a second mother to his brother. There, amid 
the cool shades of this lovely old home, he rested for 
a day or two from the fatigues of travel and the intense 
heat. During this visit, as he passed the room in which 
his mother had died, he lingered near the door and said 
to one present : 

" Forty years ago, I stood in this room by my mother's 
death-bed! It seems now but yesterday!" 

While here he determined to go back to Lexington via 
Richmond, and to run down thence to the " White House " 
to see his grandson. He arrived there on Friday, July 
30th. On Sunday he wrote to my mother: 

"White House, New Kent, August 1, 1869. 
"My Dear Mary: I arrived here on Friday last and 
found them all well. Our daughter Tabb has not been 
altogether well, and shows its effects. Her baby, I think, 
would also be improved by mountain air. I have there- 
fore persuaded her to accompany me and join you at the 
Baths. We shall leave Richmond, if nothing prevents, 
on Tuesday morning, 3d inst., and hope to reach the 
Baths that evening in the stage from Goshen. I have 
written to Mr. Peyton, requesting him to prepare a good 
room for Tabb and her little family as near you as con- 
venient, and trust we may reach there in health and com- 
fort at the time appointed. I hope I shall find you well 
and comfortable, and Markie in the enjoyment of every 
good. How are the poor little children? My previous 
letters will have informed you of everything important. 
I will supply all omissions when I see you. Custis is here, 
much improved. I have not yet seen Rob. Farmers 
here are threshing out their wheat, which occupies them 
closely. Fitzhugh's is turning out well, and he hopes to 


gather a fair crop. Robert came up last Wednesday 
with his friend Mr. Dallam, and went down Thursday. 
He was very well. Custis arrived Saturday week. Mr. 
Kepler is here and will preach at St. Peter's this morning. 
I hope to attend. Mr. Kepler says his health is much 
improved. Fitzhugh doses him with cholagogue. Good- 
bye. Affectionately yours, 

"R. E. Lee." 

St. Peter's was the old Colonial church a few miles away, 
in which General Washington and Mrs. Custis were mar- 
ried about one hundred years prior to this time. Mr. Kep- 
ler, the pastor, preached there twice a month. He lived in 
Richmond, and, to keep him free from fever-and-ague, my 
brother dosed him freely with cholagogue whenever he 
came down into the malarial country. I came up from 
Romancoke Sunday morning, arriving in time to be pres- 
ent at the christening of my nephew, which ceremony 
was decided on rather hurriedly in order that the grand- 
father might stand as godfather. After returning from 
the morning service at St. Peter's, where we all went, it 
was decided that the mother and child should go to the 
mountains with my father. As there were some prepara- 
tions for the summer to be made, his daughter and her 
baby went to Petersburg that afternoon, agreeing to meet 
the General in Richmond Monday night and start for the 
Rockbridge Baths Tuesday morning. On Monday, he 
writes to a friend, with whom he had intended to stop for 
a day on his way back to Lexington : 

" White House, New Kent County, 

''August i, 1869. 
". . . I had promised myself the pleasure of seeing 
you on my way to Lexington, of spending with you one 
short day to cheer and refresh me ; but I shall travel up in 



a capacity that I have not undertaken for many years — as 
escort to a young mother and her infant, and it will require 
the concentration of all my faculties to perform my duties 
even with tolerable comfort to my charge. . . . I go 
up with my daughter, I may say this time, too, my 
youngest daughter*, to place her with her mama at the 
Rockbridge Baths, the waters of which I hope will invigor- 
ate both mother and child, who have been wearied and 
weakened by the long attack of whooping-cough from 
which the latter has suffered. I came down from Rich- 
mond to spend Sunday and was fortunate enough to find 
here my three sons, but I am sorry to say but one daugh- 
ter. . . . Most truly yours, 

"R. E. Lee." 

Monday night was spent in Richmond. It was soon 
known that General Lee was at the Exchange Hotel, and 
great numbers came to call upon him, so that he was com- 
pelled to hold an informal reception in the large parlours. 
The next day, with his " new daughter" and her baby, he 
started for the Baths, where they arrived safely the same 
night. Then he proceeded to carry out his original plan 
for the summer, and went with his two daughters to the 
White Sulphur Springs. From there he writes to his wife : 

"White Sulphur Springs, 
11 Greenbrier County, West Virginia, August 10, 1869. 

" My Dear Mary: I received this morning your addenda 
to Annie Wickham's letter inclosing Custis's. I also 
received by same mail a letter from Mr. Richardson, 
reiterating his request to insert my portrait in my father's 
Memoirs, saying that it was by the desire ' of many mutual 
friends ' on the ground of its ' giving additional interest to 
the work, and increasing its sale.' That may or may not 
be so; at any rate, I differ from them. Besides, there is 
no good portrait accessible to him, and the engraving in 

*His daughter-in-law, Mrs. W. H. F. Lee. 


the ' Lee Family ' I think would be an injury to any book. 
His recent proposition of inserting my portrait where the 
family history is given takes from it a part of my obliga- 
tion, and if it were believed that such an addition would 
add to the interest of the book, I should assent. I have 
so told him, and that I would write to you for your sug- 
gestions, and to ask whether you could send him a por- 
trait worth inserting. What do you think ? 

" There is to be a grand concert here to-night for the 
benefit of our church at Lexington. It is gotten up by 
Miss Mary Jones and other kind people here, and the propo- 
sition is so favourably received that I hope a handsome 
sum will be realised. 

" The girls are well. I do not know how long they will 
continue so. They seem to be foot-free. A great many 
visitors were turned off last night — no room for them ! 
A grand ball in honour of Mr. Peabody is to come off 
to-morrow, after which it is supposed there will be more 
breathing-space. I have seen Mr. and Mrs. Charles 
Ridgely of ' Hampton ' since I wrote, also numerous other 
acquaintances. I should prefer more quiet. How is my 
daughter Tabb ? Mother and son are improving, I trust. 
I hope you and Markie are also doing well. No change 
in myself as yet. The girls would send love if I could 
find them. Affectionately yours, 

"Mrs. R. E. Lee. R. E. Lee." 

A few days later he writes : 

"White Sulphur Springs, August 14, 1869. 
" My Dear Mary: I received last night your letter of the 
13th — very prompt delivery — and am very glad to learn 
of the well-doing of all with you. I am particularly 
pleased to hear that our daughter and grandson are 
improving, and should you find them not benefiting I wish 
you would urge them to try some other springs, for I have 
it greatly to heart that they should receive all possible 
advantage from their summer trip. I hope Markie will be 
benefited by the Red Sweet. The water is considered a 


great tonic, but I fear none will be warm enough for her 
but the Hot. If I cannot get over to see her, I will notify 
her of our departure from here, which will be in about two 
weeks. I have received a letter from Fitz. Lee, saying 
that Mary would leave 'Richlands' last Tuesday, 10th 
inst., for 'Ravensworth,' which I presume she did, as his 
letter was postmarked that day at Acquia Creek, and was 
probably mailed by him, or one of the boys, on putting 
her aboard the mail-boat. You will be glad to learn that 
the proceeds of the concert for our church at Lexington 
netted $605, which has been subsequently increased to 
$805 by Messrs. Corcoran and Peabody with a donation of 
$100 from each. For all of this I am extremely grateful. 

' 'As regards the portrait for Mr. Richardson, you must do 
as you please. I shall not write to him any more on the 
subject. Unless the portrait is good and pleasing, I think 
it will be an injury to the book. I have had a visit since 
commencing this letter from a Mrs. William Bath, of New 
Orleans, who showed me a wreath, made in part, she says, 
of my, your and Mildred's hair, sent her by you more than 
two years ago. She says she sent you a similar one at the 
time, but of this I could tell her nothing, for I recollect 
nothing about it. She says her necessities now compel 
her to put her wreath up to raffle, and she desired to know 
whether I had any objection to her scheme, and whether 
I would head the list. All this, as you may imagine, is 
extremely agreeable to me, but I had to decline her offer 
of taking a chance in her raffle. 

"Miss Mary Jones has gone to the Sweet. Tell Miss 
Belle I wish she were coming here. I shall be glad to see 
Mrs. Caskie. Mildred has her picture. The girls are 
always busy at something, but never ready. The Stuarts 
have arrived. Mrs. Julia is improving very perceptibly. 
Love to all. 

"R. E. Lee." 

The "Markie" referred to in each of the above letters 
was Martha Custis Williams, a great -niece of my grand- 


father, Mr. Custis, who had for many years lived at Arling- 
ton with her uncle. The "little children" were her 
motherless nieces, whom she had brought that summer 
to the mountains for their health. General Lee had been 
engaged for some time in bringing out a third edition of 
his father's "Memoirs of the War of '76 in the Southern 
States." It was now in the hands of his publisher, Mr. 
Richardson, of New York. - To this edition he had added 
a sketch of the famous " Light Horse Harry," written by 
himself. It was to his publisher's proposition of placing 
his portrait in the " Introduction" to the new work that 
he at first objected, and then agreed, as stated in the two 
letters just given. The season of '69 is still noted in the 
annals of the White Sulphur as having had in its unusually 
large company so many noted and distinguished men. 
Mr. George Peabody and Mr. W. W. Corcoran, the two 
great philanthropists, were among them and helped to 
enlarge the receipts of the concert for the benefit of the 
little Episcopal church in Lexington, of which General 
Lee was a member and a vestryman. 

By the last of August he was back again in Lexington, 
making arrangements for the home-coming of his wife and 
her party from the Baths. Here is part of another letter 
written soon after his arrival home, some lines of which 
(apparently relating to the servants) have been partially 
obliterated by time : 

"Lexington, Virginia, August 31, 1869. 
11 My Dear Mary: I received this evening your note by 
Miss Mays. You had better come up whenever agree- 
able to your party ... we can only try them and 
make the best of them. Alice, when she gets well, will 
return if wanted. If Cousin Julia* will return with you, 

*Mrs. Richard Stuart, of "Cedar Grove." 


you can see her here as well as there, and we can all have 
that pleasure. If she will not, you had better remain with 
her as long as she will stay. Mrs. Pratt died to-day at 
12 130 P. M. 

" I received a letter to-day from Edward Childe, saying 
that he and Blanche would leave Liverpool in the Java on 
September 4th, and after spending a few days in the North, 
would come to Lexington. He will probably reach Bos- 
ton about September 15th, so that they may be expected 
here from the 20th to the 30th of September. I am anxious 
for them to see our daughter and grandson and all our 
sons. Give my best love to all with you. The girls would 
send love, but a 'yearling' and a 'leader of the herd' * 
occupy them. Affectionately yours, 

"R. E. Lee. 

"Mrs. M. C. Lee." 

This session of Washington College opened with very 
favourable prospects. The number of students was 
larger than ever before, every southern, and some northern 
States being represented. The new chairs of instruction 
which had been instituted were now in good working 
order, their professors were comfortably established, and 
the entire machinery of the institution was running well 
and smoothly. The president commenced to see some 
of the results of his untiring energy and steady work. He 
had many plans which lack of funds prevented him from 
carrying out. One of them was a School of Commerce 
in which a student, while following the branches which 
would discipline and cultivate the mind, might also 
receive special instruction and systematic training in 
whatever pertained to business in the largest sense of the 

*" Yearling" was a term that originated with us just after the 
war (when many of the students were ex-soldiers) , to distinguish the 
real boys from the " Confeds." From that expression, a professor came 
to be called a "leader of the herd." It was a form of speech that 
we had kept up amongst ourselves. 


term. Another was a School of Medicine, the plan for 
which, with full details, was drawn up under his eye, and 
kept in readiness until the funds of the institution should 
permit of its being carried into effect. 

His meeting with Mr. Peabody at the White Sulphur 
Springs attracted that gentleman's attention to the college 
and to his work as its president. To a request for his 
photograph to be placed in the Peabody Institute among 
the friends of its founder, he sends with the likeness the 
following note: 

" Washington College, Virginia, September 25, 1869. 
"F. Poole, Secretary Peabody Institute, 
" Peabody, Massachusetts. 
"Dear Sir: In compliance with your request, I send a 
photograph of myself, the last that has been taken, and 
shall feel honoured in its being placed among the ' friends' 
of Mr. Peabody, for, though they can be numbered by 
millions, yet all can appreciate the man who has illus- 
trated his age by his munificent charities during his life, 
and by his wise provisions for promoting the happiness 
of his fellow-creatures. 

"Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

"R. E. Lee." 

My father's family was now comfortably established in 
their new home, and had the usual number of friends 
visiting them this autumn. In due time Edward Childe, 
Blanche, and "Duckie," their little dog, arrived and 
remained a week or two. The last-named member of 
the party was of great interest. He was very minute, 
very helpless, and received more attention than the aver- 
age baby. He had crossed the Atlantic in fear and 
trembling, and did not apparently enjoy the new world. 
His utter helplessness and the great care taken of him 


by his mistress, his ill-health and the unutterable woe of 
his countenance greatly excited my father's pity. After 
he went away, he often spoke of him, and referred to 
him, I find, in one of his letters. During this trip to 
America, Edward and his wife, carrying the wretched 
"Buckie" with them, paid their visit to the "White 

This autumn the "little carriage" my father mentioned 
having purchased for my mother in Baltimore was put 
into use. He frequently drove out in it with my mother, 
his new daughter, and grandson. "Lucy Long," under 
his guidance, carefully carried them over the beautiful 
hills around Lexington. One afternoon, while paying a 
visit with his daughter, Tabb, to Colonel William Preston 
Johnston, who lived two miles down the river, in pulling 
up a steep ascent to the front door, "Lucy" fell, choked 
into unconsciousness by too tight a collar. My father 
jumped out, hastily got off the harness, and on perceiving 
the cause of the accident reproached himself vehemently 
for his carelessness and thoughtlessness. He was very 
much distressed at this accident, petted his mare, say- 
ing to her in soothing tones that he was ashamed of him- 
self for having caused her all this pain after she had 
been so faithful to him. 

His rides on Traveller in which he delighted so much 
were not so frequent now. He was not so strong as he 
had been through the spring and summer, and, indeed, 
during November he had a very severe attack of cold, 
from which he did not recover for several weeks. How- 
ever, during the beautiful days of October he was often 
seen out in the afternoons on his old gray. His favourite 
route was the road leading to the Rockbridge Baths. A 
year previous to this time, he would sometimes go as far 


as the Baths and return in an afternoon, a trip of twenty 
miles. A part of this road led through a dense forest. 
One afternoon, as he told the story himself, he met a 
plain old soldier in the midst of these woods, who, recog- 
nising the General, reined in his horse and said: 

"General Lee, I am powerful glad to see you, and I 
feel like cheering you." 

The General replied that this would not do, as they 
were all alone, only two of them, and there would be no 
object whatever in cheering. But the old soldier insisted 
that he must, and, waving his hat about his head, cried 

"Hurrah for General Lee I" and kept repeating it. As 
the General rode away he continued to hear the cheers 
until he was out of sight. 

On another afternoon, as Professors White and Nelson, 
taking a horseback ride, approached the summit of a 
long hill, they heard behind them the sound of a horse's 
feet running rapidly. In a few moments General Lee 
appeared on Traveller at full speed. On joining his 
friends he reined up and said: 

"I thought a little run would be good for Traveller." 

He often gave his horse a "breather, " as he called it. 
The animal was so strong and powerful that he chafed 
at restraint, and, unless ridden regularly and hard, had a 
very disagreeable, fretful trot. After a good gallop up 
one of the long Rockbridge hills he would proceed at a 
quiet walk. 

The tenderness in my father's heart for children I have 
already often remarked upon. One afternoon two little 
girls, the daughters of two of his professors, were riding 
on a gentle old horse up and down one of the back streets 
of the town, fearing to go far from home. The General, 


starting out on his afternoon ride, came up with them, 
and knowing them well, said gaily: 

"Come with me, little girls, and I will show you a 
beautiful ride." 

Only too delighted, they consented to go. He took 
them out beyond the fair-grounds, from which point 
there is one of the grandest stretches of mountain 
scenery in the world. One of the little maidens had 
her face tied up, as she was just recovering from the 
mumps. He pretended that he was much alarmed lest 
his horse should catch them from her, and kept saying: 

"I hope you won't give Traveller the mumps!" and 
"What shall I do if Traveller gets the mumps?" 

An hour later, this party was seen returning, the two 
little girls in sun-bonnets on the one. old, sleepy horse, 
and General Lee by their side on Traveller, who was 
stepping very proudly, as if in scorn of his lowly compan- 
ion. My father took the children to their homes, helped 
them to dismount, took a kiss from each, and, wav- 
ing a parting salute, rode away. It was such simple 
acts of kindness and consideration that made all children 
confide in him and love him. 

Soon after the attack of cold mentioned above, he 
writes to his son Fitzhugh, then at the "White House" 
with his family: 

"Lexington, Virginia, December 2, 1869. 
"My Dear Fitzhugh: . . . Your letters to Custis 
told us of your well-doing. I want to see you all very 
much, and think the sight of my daughter and grandson 
would do me good. I have had a wretched cold, the 
effects of which have not left me, but I am better. The 
doctors still have me in hand, but I fear can do no good. 
The present mild weather I hope will be beneficial, 


enabling me to ride and be in the open air. But Traveller 's 
trot is harder to me than it used to be and fatigues 
me. We are all as usual — the women of the family very 
fierce and the men very mild. Custis has been a little 
unwell, but is well regulated by his sisters. Neither 
gaiety nor extravagance prevails amongst us, and the 
town is quiet. Our community has been greatly grieved 
at the death of Mr. Frank Preston, to whom I was much 
attached and for whom I had a high esteem. Give my 
love to Bertus. Tell him I hope Mrs. Taylor will retain 
one of her little daughters for him. She always reserves 
the youngest of the flock for Custis, as he is not particular 
as to an early date. 

"Your affectionate father, 

"R. E. Lee. 
"General William H. F. Lee." 

Frank Preston, at the time of his death, was professor 
of Greek at William and Mary College. He had been, prior 
to his appointment to that position, an assistant pro- 
fessor at Washington College. He was a native of Lex- 
ington, a son of Colonel Thomas L. Preston, who was for 
so long a time professor at the Virginia Military Institute. 
A brilliant scholar, trained in the best German univer- 
sities, and a gentleman in the highest sense of the word, 
Frank had served his State in the late war, and had left 
an arm on the heights of Winchester. On hearing of 
his death, President Lee issued the following announce- 

"Washington College, November 23, 1869. 

11 The death of Professor Frank Preston, a distinguished 
graduate, and late Associate Professor of Greek in this 
college, has caused the deepest sorrow in the hearts of 
the institution. 

"Endowed with a mind of rare capacity, which had 
been enriched by diligent study and careful cultivation, 


he stood among the first in the State in his pursuit 
in life. 

"We who so long and so intimately possessed his 
acquaintance, and so fully enjoyed the privilege of his 
companionship, feel especially his loss, and grieve pro- 
foundly at his death; and we heartily sympathise with 
his parents and relations in their great affliction, and 
truly participate in the deep sorrow that has befallen 

"With the view of testifying the esteem felt for his 
character and the respect due to his memory, all aca- 
demic exercises will be suspended for the day, and the 
faculty and students are requested to attend in their 
respective bodies his funeral services at the Presbyterian 
church, at eleven o'clock, to pay the last sad tribute of 
respect to his earthly remains, while cherishing in their 
hearts his many virtues. 

"R. E. Lee. President." 

Failing Health 

the general declines lucrative positions in new 

york and atlanta he- suffers from an obstinate 

cold — local gossip — he is advised to go south 
in the spring of 1870 — desires to visit his 
daughter annie's grave 

After General Lee had accepted the presidency of 
Washington College, he determined to devote himself 
entirely to the interest and improvement of that institu- 
tion. From this resolution he never wavered. An offer 
that he should be at the head of a large house to represent 
southern commerce, that he should reside in New York, 
and have placed at his disposal an immense sum of 
money, he declined, saying: 

"I am grateful, but I have a self-imposed task which 
I must accomplish. I have led the young men of the 
South in battle; I have seen many of them die on the 
field; I shall devote my remaining energies to training 
young men to do their duty in life." 

To a request from some of his old officers that he should 
associate himself with a business enterprise in the South, 
as its president, he replied with the following letter: 

"Lexington, Virginia, December 14, 1869. 
" General J. B. Gordon, President, 

"Southern Life Insurance Company, 
"Atlanta, Georgia. 
" My Dear General: I have received your letter of the 
3d inst., and am duly sensible of the kind feelings which 



prompted your proposal. It would be a great pleasure 
to me to be associated with you, Hampton, B. H. Hill, 
and the other good men whose names I see on your list 
of directors, but I feel that I ought not to abandon the 
position I hold at Washington College at this time, or as 
long as I can be of service to it. Thanking you for your 
kind consideration, for which I know I am alone indebted 
for your proposition to become president of the Southern 
Life Insurance Company, and with kindest regards to Mrs. 
Gordon and my best wishes for yourself, I am, 
"Very truly yours, 

"R. E. Lee." 

His correspondence shows that many like propositions 
were made to him. 

The Christmas of '69, neither my brother nor myself 
was with him. Knowing of our plans in that respect, 
he wrote before the holidays to Fitzhugh, wishing us 
both the compliments of the season and a pleasant time 
in the visits we were going to make : 

"Lexington, Virginia, December 18, 1869. 
"My Dear Fitzhugh: I must begin by wishing you a 
pleasant Christmas and many, many Happy New Years, 
and may each succeeding year bring to you and yours 
increasing happiness. I shall think of you and my 
daughter and my grandson very often during the season 
when families are generally united, and though absent 
from you in person, you will always be present in mind, 
and my poor prayers and best wishes will accompany 
you all wherever you are. Bertus will also be remem- 
bered, and I hope that the festivities of ' Brandon ' will 
not drive from his memory the homely board at Lexing- 
ton. I trust that he will enjoy himself and find some 
one to fill that void in his heart as completely as he will 
the one in his — system. Tell Tabb that no one in Peters- 
burg wants to see her half as much as her papa, and now 


that her little boy has his mouth full of teeth, he would 
not appear so lonesome as he did in the summer. If she 
should find in the 'Burg' a *Duckie' to take his place, 
I beg that she will send him up to me. 

"I duly received your letter previous to the 12th inst., 
and requested some of the family who were writing 
about that time to inform you. When I last wrote, I 
could not find it on my table and did not refer to it. 
'The Mim' says you excel, her in counting, if you do not 
in writing, but she does not think she is in your debt. I 
agree with you in your views about Smith's Island, and 
see no advantage in leasing it, but wish you could sell it 
to advantage. I hope the prospects may be better in the 
spring. Political affairs will be better, I think, and 
people will be more sanguine and hopeful. You must be 
on the alert. I wish I could go down to see you, but think 
it better for me to remain here. To leave home now and 
return during the winter would be worse for me. It is 
too cold for your mother to travel now. She says she 
will go down in the spring, but you know what an exer- 
tion it is for her to leave home, and the inconvenience, 
if not the suffering, is great. The anticipation, however, 
is pleasing to her and encourages hope, and I like her to 
enjoy it, though am not sanguine that she will realise it. 
Mildred is probably with you, and can tell you all about 
us. I am somewhat reconciled to her absence by the 
knowledge of the benefit that she will be to Tabb. Tell 
the latter that she [Mildred] is modest and backward 
in giving advice, but that she has mines of wealth on that 
subject, and that she [Tabb] must endeavour to extract 
from her her views on the management of a household, 
children, etc., and the proper conduct to be observed 
toward husbands and the world in general. I am sure 
my little son will receive many wise admonitions which 
he will take open-mouthed. I have received a letter 
from your Uncle Carter telling me of his pleasant visit to 
you and of his agreeable impressions of his nephew and 
new niece. He was taken very sick in Richmond and de- 


layed there so long that he could not be present at Wm. 
Kennon's wedding, and missed the festivities at his 
neighbour Gilliam's and at Norwood. Indeed, he had 
not recovered his strength when Lucy wrote a few days 
ago, and her account makes me very uneasy about him. 
I am glad Rob has so agreeable a neighbour as General 
Cooke, and I presume it is the North Carolina brigadier.* 
When you go to Petersburg, present my kind regards 
to Mr. and Mrs. Boiling, 'Miss Melville,' and all friends. 
All here unite with me in love to you, Tabb, and the boy, 
in which Mildred is included. 

"Your affectionate father, 

"R. E. Lee. 
"General William H. F. Lee." 

In a note, written the day after, acknowledging a 
paper sent to him to sign, he says: 

" . . . I wrote to you yesterday, Saturday, in reply 
to your former letter, and stated the reasons why I could 
not visit you. Your mother has received Mildred's letter 
announcing her arrival in Richmond and will write to her 
there. I can only repeat my love and prayers that every 
blessing may attend you and yours. We are as usual. 
"Truly and affectionately, 

"R. E. Lee. 
"General William H. F. Lee." 

The attack of cold from which my father suffered in 
October had been very severe. Rapid exercise on horse- 
back or on foot produced pain and difficulty in breathing. 
After he was considered by most of his friends to have 
gotten well over it, it was very evident to his doctors and 
himself that there was a serious trouble about the heart, 
and he often had great weariness and depression. He 

* A Virginian — son of General St. George Cooke, of the Federal 
Army, who commanded a North Carolina brigade in A. P. Hill's 
corps, A. N. Va. 


complained but little, was often very bright and cheerful, 
and still kept up his old-time fun and humour in his con- 
versation and letters, but his letters written during this 
year to his immediate family show that he was constantly 
in pain and had begun to look upon himself as an invalid. 
To Mildred, who was in Richmond on a visit to friends, 
he writes jokingly about the difficulty experienced by 
the family in finding out what she meant in a letter to 

" Lexington, Virginia, January 8, 1870. 
11 My Precious Life: I received your letter of the 4th. 
We held a family council over it. It was passed from 
eager hand to hand and attracted wondering eyes and 
mysterious looks. It produced few words but a deal of 
thinking, and the conclusion arrived at, I believe unani- 
mously, was that there was a great fund of amusement 
and information in it if it could be extracted. I have 
therefore determined to put it carefully away till your 
return, seize a leisure day, and get you to interpret it. 
Your mother's commentary, in a suppressed soliloquy, 
was that you had succeeded in writing a wretched hand. 
Agnes thought that it would keep this cold weather — 
her thoughts running on jellies and oysters in the store- 
room; but I, indignant at such aspersions upon your 
accomplishments, retained your epistle and read in an 
elevated tone an interesting narrative of travels in sundry 
countries, describing gorgeous scenery, hairbreadth es- 
capes, and a series of remarkable events by flood and field, 
not a word of which they declared was in your letter. 
Your return, I hope, will prove the correctness of my 
version of your annals. ... I have little to tell. 
Gaiety continues. Last night there was a cadet hop. 
Night before, a party at Colonel Johnston's. The night 
preceding, a college conversazione at your mother's. It 
was given in honour of Miss Maggie Johnston's visit of a 
few days to us. You know how agreeable I am on 


such occasions, but on this, I am told, I surpassed 

" On New Year's Day the usual receptions. Many of 
our friends called. Many of my ancients as well as 
juniors were present, and all enjoyed some good Norfolk 
oysters. I refer you to Agnes for details. We are pretty 
well. I think I am better. Your mother and sisters as 
usual. Custis busy with the examination of the cadets, 
the students preparing for theirs. Cadet Cook, who was 
so dangerously injured by a fall from his window on the 
1st, it is hoped now will recover. The Misses Pendleton 
were to have arrived this morning, and Miss Ella Henin- 
berger is on a visit to Miss Campbell. Miss Lizzie Letcher 
still absent. Messrs. Anderson, Baker, W. Graves, 
Moorman, Strickler, and Webb have all been on visits to 
their sweethearts, and have left without them. 'Mrs. 
Smith' is as usual. ' Gus ' is as wild as ever*. We catch 
our own rats and mice now, and are independent of cats. 
All unite in love to you. 

"Your affectionate father, 

"R. E. Lee. 
' "Miss Mildred Lee." 

A month later he writes again to this daughter in the 
same playful strain, and sends his remembrances to many 
friends in Richmond: 

"Lexington, Virginia, February 2, 1870. 
"My Precious Life: Your letter of the 29th ultimo, 
which has been four days on the road, reached me this 
morning, and my reply, unless our mails whip up, will 
not get to you before Sunday or Monday. There is no 
danger, therefore, of our correspondence becoming too 
brisk. What do the young girls do whose lovers are at 
Washington College or the Institute? Their tender 
hearts must always be in a lacerated and bleeding con- 

* "Mrs. Smith" and "Gus" were the names of two of the pet cats 
of my sister. "Gus" was short for Gustavus Adolphus. 


dition ! I hope you are not now in that category, for I 
see no pining swains among them, whose thoughts and 
wishes are stretching eagerly toward Richmond. I am 
glad you have had so pleasant a visit to the Andersons. 
You must present my regards to them all, and I hope that 
Misses Ellen and Mary will come to see you in the summer. 
I am sure you will have an agreeable time at Brook Hill. 
Remember me to all the family, and tell Miss Belle to 
spare my friend Wilkins. He is not in a condition to 
enjoy the sufferings which she imposes on her Richmond 
beaux. Besides, his position entitles him to tender 

" I think it time that you should be thinking of returning 
home. I want to see you very much, and as you have 
been receiving instruction from the learned pig, I shall 
expect to see you much improved. We are not reduced 
to apply to such instructors at Lexington. Here we have 
learned professors to teach us what we wish to know, and 
the Franklin Institute to furnish us lectures on science 
and literature. You had better come back, if you are in 
search of information on any subject. I am glad that 
Miss 'Nannie' Wise found one occasion on which her 
ready tongue failed her. She will have to hold it in 
subjection now. I should like to see Miss Belle under 
similar circumstances, provided she did not die from 
suppressed ideas. What an awful feeling she must ex- 
perience, if the occasion should ever come for her to 
restrain that active member! Although my friend 
Wilkins would be very indulgent, I think he would 
want her to listen sometimes. Miss Pendleton has just 
been over to give us some pleasing news. Her niece, Miss 
Susan Meade, Philip's daughter, is to be married next 
month to a Mr. Brown, of Kentucky, who visited her 
two years ago upon the recommendation of the Reverend 
Charles Page, found her a school-girl, and has waited until 
she became a woman. He is rich, forty-nine, and has 
six children. There is a fair start in the world for a young 
woman! I recommend her example to you. We are 


all as usual, and 'Mrs. Smith' is just the same. Miss 
Maggie Johnston, who has been staying with us occasion- 
ally for a few days at a time, is now on a visit to us. 
There is to be an anniversary celebration of the societies 
of the Institute on Friday, and a students' party on Mon- 
day night, and a dance at the College Hotel. To-morrow 
night your mother has an evening for some young students. 
Gaiety will never cease in Lexington so long as the ladies 
are so attractive and the men so agreeable. Surprise 
parties are the fashion now. Miss Lucy Campbell has 
her cousin, Miss Ella Heninberger, staying with her, who 
assists her to surprise and capture too unwary youths. 
I am sorry to hear of Mrs. Ould's illness. If you see her, 
present me most kindly to her; also to Mrs. George 
Randolph. Do beware of vanilla cream. Recollect how 
far you are from home, and do not tamper with yourself. 
Our semi-annual examination has been in progress for a 
fortnight. We shall conclude on Saturday, which will 
be a great relief to me, for, in addition to other things, I 
have to be six hours daily in the examination rooms. I 
was sorry that I could not attend Mr. Peabody's funeral, 
but I did not feel able to undertake the journey, espe- 
cially at this season. I am getting better, I hope, and 
feel stronger than I did, but I cannot walk much farther 
than to + he college, though when I get on my horse I 
can ride with comfort. Agnes accompanies me very often. 
I must refer you to her and your mother for all local news. 
Give my love to Fitzhugh, and Tabb, and Robert when 
you see them, and for yourself keep an abundance. I 
have received letters from Edward and Blanche. They 
are very anxious about the condition of political affairs 
in France. Blanche sent you some receipts for creams, 
etc. You had better come and try them. 

" Your affectionate father, R. E. Lee. 

"Miss Mildred Lee." 

The following letter to his son, Fitzhugh, further 
shows his tender interest in his children and grandson : 


"Lexington, Virginia, February 14, 1870. 

11 My Dear Fitzhugh: ... I hope that you are all 
well and that you will not let any one spoil my grandson. 
Your mother has written all the family and Lexington 
news. She gathers much more than I do. I go nowhere 
but to the college, and when the weather permits I ride 
in the mountains. I am better, I think, but still troubled. 
Mildred, I hope, is with you. When she gets away from 
her papa, she does not know what she wants to do, tell 
her. You have had a fine winter for work, and later you 
will have a profitable season. Custis is well and very 
retired; I see no alarming exhibition of attention to the 
ladies. I have great hopes of Robert. Give much love 
to my daughter Tabb and to poor little 'Life.' I wish 
I could see you all ; it would do my pains good. Poor little 
Agnes is not at all well, and I am urging her to go away 
for a while. Mary as usual. 

" Affectionately your father, R. E. Lee. 

"General W. H. F. Lee." 

After waiting all winter for the improvement in his 
health, my father, yielding at last to the wishes of his 
family, physician, and friends, determined to try the 
effect of a southern climate. It was thought it might do 
him good, at any rate, to escape the rigours of a Lexington 
March, and could do no harm. In the following letters 
to his children he outlines his plans and touchingly alludes 
to the memory of his daughter Annie, who died in 1862 
and was buried at Warrenton Springs, North Carolina: 

"Lexington, Virginia, March 21, 1870. 
"My Dear Daughter: The doctors and others think I 
had better go to the South in the hope of relieving the 
effects of the cold, under which I have been labouring 
all the winter. I think I should do better here, and am 
very reluctant to leave home in my present condition; 
but they seem so interested in my recovery and so per- 


suasive in their uneasiness that I should appear obstinate, 
if not perverse, if I resisted longer. I therefore consented 
to go, and will take Agnes to Savannah, as she seems 
anxious to visit that city, or, perhaps, she will take me. 
I wish also to visit my dear Annie's grave before I die. 
I have always desired to do so since the cessation of 
active hostilities, but have never been able. I wish to 
see how calmly she sleeps away from us all, with her 
dear hands folded over her breast as if in mute prayer, 
while her pure spirit is traversing the land of the blessed. 
I shall diverge from the main route of travel for this 
purpose, and it will depend somewhat upon my feelings 
and somewhat upon my procuring an escort for Agnes, 
whether I go further south. 

" I am sorry not to be able to see you before I go, but 
if I return, I hope to find you here well and happy. You 
must take good care of your mother and do everything 
she wants. You must not shorten your trip on account 
of our departure. Custis will be with her every day, 
and Mary is with her still. The servants seem attentive. 
Good-bye, my dear child. Remember me to all friends, 
. and believe me, 

" Your affectionate father, R. E. Lee. 

"Miss Mildred Lee." 

" Lexington, Virginia, March 22, 1870. 

11 My Dear Fitzhugh: Your letter of the 17th inst. has 

, been received. Lest I should appear obstinate, if not 

' perverse, I have yielded to the kind importunities of my 

physicians and of the faculty to take a trip toward the 

South. In pursuance of my resolution, I shall leave 

here Thursday next in the packet-boat, and hope to 

arrive in Richmond on Friday afternoon. I shall take 

with me, as my companion, Agnes, who has been my 

kind and uncomplaining nurse, and if we could only get 

down to you that evening we would do so, for I want to 

see you, my sweet daughter, and dear grandson, But as 

the doctors think it important that I should reach a 


southern climate as soon as practicable, I fear I shall have 
to leave my visit to you till my return. I shall go first 
to Warrenton Springs, North Carolina, to visit the grave 
of my dear Annie, where I have always promised myself 
to go, and I think, if I am to accomplish it, I have no time 
to lose. I wish to witness her quiet sleep, with her dear 
hands crossed over her breast, as it were in mute prayer, 
undisturbed by her distance from us, and to feel that 
her pure spirit is waiting in bliss in the land of the blessed. 
From there, according to my feelings, I shall either go 
down to Norfolk or to Savannah, and take you if practi- 
cable on my return. I would ask you to come up to 
Richmond, but my movements are unknown to myself, 
as I cannot know the routes, schedules, etc., till I arrive 
there, but I have promised not to linger there longer than 
necessary; so I must avoid temptation. We are all as 
usual. Your mother still talks of visiting you, and when 
I urge her to make preparations for the journey, she 
replies rather disdainfully she has none to make; they 
have been made years ago. Custis and Mary are well, 
and Mildred writes that she will be back by April ist. 
We are having beautiful weather now, which I hope may 
continue. From 

"Your affectionate father, R. E. Lee." 

To his daughter Mildred he writes again, giving her 
the minutest details as to the routes home. This is 
very characteristic of him. We were always fully in- 
structed as to the best way to get to Lexington, and, 
indeed, all the roads of life were carefully marked out 
for us by him : 

"Lexington, Virginia, March 23, 1870. 
" My Dear Daughter: I wrote to you the other day, 
telling you of my intention of going South and of my 
general plan as far as formed. This morning your letter 
of the 2 1 st arrived. ... I hope you will get back 
comfortably and safely, and if you can fall in with no 


escort, you had better go as far as Alexandria, the first 
stage of your journey. Aunt Maria, Cassius Lee, the 
Smiths, etc., would receive you. If you wish to come by 
Goshen, you must take the train from Alexandria on 
Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday, so as to reach us on 
any of those evenings, when you will arrive here about 
twelve o'clock at. night. By taking the train from 
Alexandria on the alternate days, Monday, Wednesday, 
or Friday, you will reach Staunton that evening by four 
p. m., remain all night, and come over by daylight the 
following day in the stage. By taking the train from 
Alexandria to Lynchburg, Mondays, Wednesdays, or 
Fridays, you will reach there the same afternoon, about 
four p. m., then go immediately to the packet-boat, and 
you will arrive here next morning. This last is the 
easiest route, and the best if you find no escort. Tell all 
the conductors and captains that you are my runaway 
daughter, and they will take care of you. I leave to- 
morrow evening on the packet-boat. I told you that 
Agnes would accompany me. Tell my cousins Washing- 
ton, Jane, and Mary that I wish I were going to see 
them. I should then anticipate some pleasure. But 
the doctors say I must turn my face the other way. I 
know they do not know everything, and yet I have often 
had to do what I was told, without benefit to myself, and 
I shall have to do it again. Good-bye, my dear daughter. 
All unite in love. 

" Your affectionate father, R. E. Lee. 

"Miss Mildred Lee." 


The Southern T.r i p 

letters to mrs. lee from richmond and savannah — 
from brandon agnes lee's account of her 





It is to be regretted that so little was written by my 
father while on this trip. In the letters extant he 
scarcely refers to his reception by the people at different 
points visited. His daughter Agnes tells more, and we 
can imagine how tenderly and joyfully he was greeted by 
his old soldiers, their wives, children, and friends. He 
was very unwilling to be made a hero anywhere, and most 
reluctant to show himself to the crowds assembled at 
every station along his route, pressing to catch sight of 

"Why should they care to see me?" he would say, 
when urged to appear on the platform of the train ; "I 
am only a poor old Confederate !" 

This feeling, natural to him, was probably intensified 
at that time by the state of his health. On Sunday he 
writes to my mother of his trip to Richmond and of his 
stay there : 

"Richmond, Virginia, March 29, 1870. 
"My Dear Mary: I reached here Friday afternoon, 
and had a more comfortable journey than I expected. 



The night aboard the packet was very trying, but I 
survived it, and the dust of the railroad the following 
day. Yesterday the doctors, Huston, McCaw, and Cun- 
ningham, examined me for two hours, and, I believe, 
contemplate returning to-day. They say they will 
make up their opinion and communicate it to Doctor 
Barton, who will write me what to do. In the meantime 
they desire me to continue his prescriptions. I think I 
feel better than when I left Lexington, certainly stronger, 
but am a little feverish. Whether it is produced by the 
journey, or the toddies that Agnes administers, I do not 
know. I have not been able to see anybody, nor was I 
able to get the groceries yesterday. Agnes thinks you 
will have enough to last till I get back here, when I will 
select them and send them up. Should you want any 
particular article, write to Messrs. Bacon & Lewis for it. 
I saw, yesterday morning, Mr. John Stewart and Miss 
Mary,* who had called to see Agnes but found she was 
out. Miss Mary looked very sweet, and inquired about 
you all. Agnes rode out there yesterday afternoon and 
saw all the family. I am told all our friends here are well. 
Many of my northern friends have done me the honour 
to call on me. Among them 'Brick Pomeroy.' They 
like to see all that is going on. Agnes has gone to church 
with Colonel Corley. I was afraid to go. The day is 
unfavourable, and I should see so many of my old friends, 
to whom I would like to speak, that it might be injurious 
to me. I was in hopes that Fitzhugh might make his 
appearance yesterday, when we should have learned all 
about those below, but he did not. I hear that they are 
all well, however. I expect to continue our journey to- 
morrow, if nothing prevents, though I have not yet got 
the information I desire about the routes. Still, I will 
get on. I will leave to Agnes to tell about herself. Love 
to all, Truly, R. E. Lee." 

The next letter that I find is written from Savannah : 

*Miss Mary Stewart, of "Brook Hill," afterward Mrs. Thomas 
Pinckney, of South Carolina. 


"Savannah, Georgia, April 2, 1870. 
"My Dear Mary: I reached here yesterday evening 
and have borne the journey much better than I expected. 
I think I am stronger than when I left Lexington, but 
otherwise can discover no difference. I have had a 
tedious journey upon the whole, and have more than 
ever regretted that I undertook it. However, I have 
enjoyed meeting many friends, and the old soldiers have 
greeted me very cordially. My visit to dear Annie's 
grave was mournful, yet soothing to my feelings, and I 
was glad to have the opportunity of thanking the kind 
friends for their care of her while living and their atten- 
tion to her since her death. I saw most of the ladies of 
the committee who undertook the preparation of the 
monument and the inclosure of the cemetery, and was 
very kindly received by all the citizens of Warrenton, and, 
indeed, at all the towns through which we passed. Yester- 
day, several gentlemen from Savannah met the train in 
which we came from Augusta — General Lawton, Mr. 
Andrew Lowe, Mr. Hodgson, etc., etc. I found they 
had arranged among themselves about my sojourn, so 
I yielded at once, and, after depositing Agnes at General 
Lawton's, I came off to Mr. Lowe's, where I am now 
domiciled. His house is partially dismantled and he is 
keeping house alone, so I have a very quiet time. This 
morning I took a short drive around the city with Agnes 
and Miss Lawton, and on returning called on Mrs. Elliot, 
who has her two widowed daughters living with her, 
Mrs. Elliot and Mrs. Habersham. I also went to see 
Mrs. Gordon, Mrs. Gilmer, and Mrs. Owen, and then re- 
turned to the Lowes', where I find he has invited some 
gentlemen to meet me at dinner — General Joe Johnston, 
General Lawton, General Gilmer, Colonel Corley, etc. 
Colonel Corley has stuck to me all the journey, and now 
talks of going to New Orleans. The weather to-day is 
rather cool and raw, with an easterly wind, and if it con- 
tinues I will go on to Florida next week. The woods are 
filled with flowers, yellow jasmine covering all the trees, 


etc., and fresh vegetables everywhere. I must leave 
Agnes to give you all details. The writing-desk is placed 
in a dark corner in this handsome house, prepared for 
younger eyes than mine, and I can hardly see what I 
write. All friends inquire after you, Custis, Mary, and 
Mildred. Give my love to all, and believe me, 

"Most truly, R. E. Lee. 

"Mrs. R. E. Lee." 

The Colonel Corley mentioned in the above letters had 
been on General Lee's staff, as chief quartermaster, from 
the time he assumed command of the Army of Northern 
Virginia until the surrender. His voluntary service as 
escort on this trip, so delicately offered and performed, 
was highly appreciated by his old commander. A letter 
from his daughter to her mother, written the next day, 
tells many particulars of their journey, but still leaves 
much to be desired: 

"Savannah, Georgia, April 3, 1870. 
". . . I hardly know where to commence, I have 
so little time to write. We left Richmond Monday, 
2 p. m. We reached Warrenton at ten o'clock and were 
taken to their house by Mr. and Mrs. White, who met us 
at the depot. The next morning papa and I drove 
with Captain White's horses to the cemetery. Mrs. 
White gave me a quantity of beautiful white hyacinths, 
which she said were for you, too, and I had brought 
some gray moss that Kitty Stiles had given me. This I 
twined on the base of the monument. The flowers 
looked very pure and beautiful. The place is just as 
it is in Mr. Hope's picture (which I have) . It was a great 
satisfaction to be there again. We did not go to the 
springs, a mile off. Returning, we stopped at Mr. Joe 

Jones's (old Mr. J 's son). They insisted on our 

taking dinner. He has eleven children, I think, and 
there were numberless others there. They loaded me 


with flowers, the garden full of hyacinths and early 
spring flowers. Mrs. Jones is a very nice lady, one 
of those who were foremost in erecting the monu- 
ment. We then stopped at the farm of the Jones's, 
who were at the springs when we were there in the 
autumn of 1862, and Mrs. J— — knew me at once, 
and asked affectionately after you. Saw Patty and 
Emma — all the daughters married except Patty and the 

youngest. Mr. J is very infirm — eighty-three years 

old. That evening a number of persons came to see us, 
Mrs. Alston and Miss Brownlow, two others of the com- 
mittee of ladies. Every one was very kind. Indeed, I 
wish you could travel with papa, to see the affection and 
feeling shown toward him everywhere. We spent that 
night in the sleeping-car, very handsome and comfortable, 
but the novelty, I suppose, made us wakeful. At Raleigh 
and another place the people crowded to the depot and 
called ' Lee ! Lee ! ' and cheered vociferously, but we were 
locked up and 'mum.' Everywhere along the road 
where meals were provided the landlords invited us in, 
and when we would not get out, sent coffee and lunches. 
Even soldiers on the train sent in fruit, and I think we 
were expected to die of eating. At Charlotte and Salis- 
bury there were other crowds and bands. Colonel Corley 
joined us at C, having asked to go to Savannah with us. 
The train stopped fifteen minutes at Columbia. Colonel 
Alexander Haskell took charge of the crowd, which, in 
spite of the pouring rain, stood there till we left. General 
E. Porter Alexander was there, and was very hearty in his 
inquiries after all of us. His little girl was lifted into 
the car. Namesakes appeared on the way, of all sizes. 
Old ladies stretched their heads into the windows at way- 
stations, and then drew back and said ' He is mightily like 
his pictures.' We reached Augusta Wednesday night. 
The mayor and council met us, having heard a few 
minutes before that papa was on the train. We were 
whirled off to the hotel, and papa decided to spend 
Thursday there. They had a reception the whole of 


the morning. Crowds came. Wounded soldiers, servants, 
and working-men even. The sweetest little children — 
namesakes — dressed to their eyes, with bouquets of 
japonica — or tiny cards in their little fat hands — with 
their names. Robert Burwell, of Clarke, who married 
Miss Clayton there ; Randell, author of ' My Maryland ' ; 
General McLaws, Wright, Gardner, and many others. 

Saw the Misses Boggs, General B 's sisters. Miss 

Rebecca knew Mrs. Kirkpatrick very well, and asked 
after her. Miss Russell, with whose father and sisters we 
had been at the White Sulphur, helped us to receive. 
She is very tall and handsome, and was superb in a white 
lace shawl, a moire-antique with a train. The Branch 
brothers rather took possession of me. Melville, who 
was at the Institute [Virginia Military Institute, Lexing- 
ton, Virginia] and knew the Letchers very well, drove me in 
and around the town — at the rate of a mile a minute. 
Another brother took me to the ' Skating Rink ' at night. 
. . . a serenade that night. At some point on the 
way here Generals Lawton and Gilmer, Mr. Andrew 
Lowe, and others, got on the cars with us. Flowers were 
given us at various places. I so much enjoyed the 
evidences of spring all along our route — more and more 
advanced as we proceeded. The jasmine, though passing 
away, was still in sufficient abundance, in some places, to 
perfume the air. The dark marshes were rich in tall 
magnolia trees, beautiful red buds, and other red blossoms 
I did not know. The jasmine and the trees hanging with 
gray moss — perfectly weird-looking — have been the least 
luxuriant places in the interim. Savannah is green with 
live-oaks — and filled with trees and shrubbery. I wish 
you could see a large marble table in the parlour, where 
I am writing, with a pyramid of jasmine in the centre 
and four large plates full at the corners, almost covering 
the square, all sent me Saturday. The Lawtons are as 
kind as possible, wanted papa to stay here, but Mr. 
Andrew Lowe had arranged to take him to his house at 
bed-time. So he lost the benefit of a serenade from 


two bands, alternating, which we enjoyed — General 
Lawton telling the crowd General Lee had retired from 
fatigue. Papa has borne the journey and the crowds 
far better than I thought he would and seems stronger. 
(Monday.) It seems impossible to finish this — I inclose 
some scraps which will tell our story. Crowds of persons 
have been coming to see me ever since I came. Saw 
Mrs. General Johnston — Nannie Hutchenson — of course, 
and Reverend and Mrs. .Moore yesterday. They left 
to-day. . . . Colonel Corley has taken Corinne * and 
me on a beautiful drive this morning to 'Bona venture,' 
which is to be a cemetery, and to several places in its 
vicinity. I never saw anything more impressive and 
beautiful than the avenues of live-oaks, literally covered 
with long gray moss, arching over the roads. Tell 
Messrs. Owens and Minis I have seen their families, who 
are very kind to us. General and Mrs. Gilmer asked 
especially after Custis. . . . We think of going to 
Florida in a few days. Haven't heard from you. 


This is the only letter from his daughter Agnes, written 
at this time, that can be found. My father, in his letters 
to his family, left "details" and "particulars" for her to 
describe, and doubtless she did so. Unfortunately, there 
is but this single letter. 

On April 17th, he writes again from Savannah to my 
mother : 

"My Dear Mary: I have received your letter of the 
Wednesday after our departure and am glad to hear that 
you are well and getting on so comfortably. The destruc- 
tion of the bridge is really a loss to the community, and I 
fear will inconvenience Mildred in her return. However, 
the spring is now advancing and they ought to be able to 
get up the new bridge. I hope I am a little better. I seem 

* Corinne Lawton. 


to be stronger and to walk with less difficulty, but it may 
be owing to the better streets of Savannah. I presume 
if any change takes place it will be gradual and slow. 
Please say to Doctor Barton that I have received his 
letter and am obliged to him for his kind advice. I 
shall begin to-day with his new prescriptions and will 
follow them strictly. To-morrow I expect to go to 
Florida, and will stop first at Amelia Island. The 
visitors to that region are coming out, saying the weather 
is uncomfortably hot. If I find it so, I shall return. 
Savannah has become very pleasant within the last few 
days, and I dare say I shall do as well here as elsewhere. 
The spring, however, is backward. I believe I told you 
that I was staying with Mr. Andrew Lowe, who is very 
kind, and where I am very comfortable. I am going to 
be separated from Agnes, and have received invitations 
from several of the inhabitants where we could be united. 
But it is awkward to change. Agnes' has been sick, too, 
since her arrival, which has made me the more anxious 
to be with her. You know she is like her papa — always 
wanting something. She is, however, better to-day, as 
I learn, though I have not seen her yet. I saw her 
twice yesterday. She was better then and came down 
to Mrs. Lawton's room, so I hope she will be well enough 
to go with me to Amelia Island. The Messrs. Mackay 
got down from Etowa last evening, both looking very 
well, and have reopened their old house in Broughton 
Street, which I am glad of. I have seen Mrs. Doctor 
Elliot and family, the Andersons, Gordons, etc., etc., 
and all my former acquaintances and many new ones. 
I do not think travelling in this way procures me much 
quiet and repose. I wish I were back. . . . Give 
my love to her [his daughter Mary] and to Custis, and tell 
the latter I hope that he will be able to keep Sam in the 
seeds he may require. Praying a merciful God to guard 
and direct you all, I am, 

"Most affectionately, R. E. Lee. 

"P. S. — I received a letter from F — : all well. 

"R. E. L." 


Sam was the gardener and man-of -all-work at Lexing- 
ton. My father took great interest in his garden and 
always had a fine one. Still, in Savannah, he again 
writes to his wife acknowledging the letters forwarded to 
him and commenting on the steps being taken:' 

" Savannah, Georgia, April 11, 1870. 

"My Dear Mary: I received yesterday your letters 
of the 3d and 6th, inclosing Reverend Mr. Brantley's 
and daughter's and Cassius Lee's. I forwarded the 
petition to the President, accompanying the latter, to 
Cassius, and asked him to give it to Mr. Smith. Hearing, 
while passing through Richmond, of the decision of the 
Supreme Court referred to, I sent word to Mr. Smith 
that if he thought the time and occasion propitious for 
taking steps for the recovery of Arlington, the Mill, etc., 
to do so, but to act quietly and discreetly. I presume 
the petition sent you for signature was the consequence. 
I do not know whether this is a propitious time or not, and 
should rather have had an opportunity to consult friends, 
but am unable to do so. Tell Custis that I wish that he 
would act for me, through you or others, for it is mainly 
on his account that I desire the restitution of the property. 
I see that a resolution has been introduced into Congress 
1 to perfect the title of the Government to Arlington and 
other National Cemeteries,' which I have been appre- 
hensive of stirring, so I suppose the matter will come up 
anyhow. I did not sign the petition, for I did not think 
it necessary, and believed the more I was kept out of 
sight the better. We must hope for the best, speak as 
little and act as discreetly as possible. 

"The Reverend Dr. Brantley was invited by the 
faculty of the college to deliver the baccalaureate sermon 
next June, and I invited him and his daughter, in the 
event of his accepting, to stay with us. Do you know 
whether he has accepted ? I should have gone to Florida 
last Friday, as proposed, but Agnes was not well enough. 
She took cold on the journey or on her first arrival, and 


has been quite sick, but is better now. I have not seen 
her this morning, but if she is sufficiently recovered we 
will leave here to-morrow. I have received a message 
saying that she was much better. As regards myself, 
my general health is pretty good. I feel stronger than 
when I came. The warm weather has also dispelled some 
of the rheumatic pains in my back, but I perceive no 
change in the stricture in my chest. If I attempt to 
walk beyond a very slow gait, the pain is always there. 
It is all true what the doctors say about its being ag- 
gravated by any fresh cold, but how to avoid taking cold 
is the question. It seems with me to be impossible. 
Everything and anything seems to give me one. I meet 
with much kindness and consideration, but fear that 
nothing will relieve my complaint, which is fixed and old. 
I must bear it. I hope that you will not give over your 
trip to the 'White House,' if you still. desire to make it. 
I shall commence my return about the last of April, 
stopping at some points, and will be a few days in Rich- 
mond, and the 'White House' if able. I must leave to 
Agnes all details. Give much love to Custis, Mary, and 
Mildred. Tell the latter I have received her letters. 
Remember me to all friends. 

"Most sincerely yours, R. E. Lee. 

"Mrs. R. E. Lee." 

After visiting Cumberland Island and going up the St. 
John's River as far as Palatka, and spending the night 
at Colonel Cole's place near there, they returned to 
Savannah. Colonel Cole was on General Lee's staff 
as chief commissary during the time he commanded 
the Army of Northern Virginia, and was a very dear 
friend of us all : 

"Savannah, Georgia, April 18, 1870. 
" My Dear Mary: I have received your letter of the 
13th, and am glad to learn that you propose visiting the 


' White House,' as I feared my journey might prevent you. 
I am, however, very anxious on the subject, as I appre- 
hend the trip will be irksome and may produce great 
inconvenience and pain. I hope you received my letter 
of the i ith, written just before my departure for Florida. 
In case you did not, I will state that I forwarded your 
petition to Cassius Lee as received, not thinking my 
signature necessary or advantageous. I will send the 
money received from the ' University Publishing Company ' 
to Carter, for whom I intend it.* I returned from 
Florida Saturday, 16th, having had a very pleasant trip 
as far as Palatka on the St. John's. We visited Cumber- 
land Island, and Agnes decorated my father's grave with 
beautiful fresh flowers. I presume it is the last time I 
shall be able to pay to it my tribute of respect. The 
cemetery is unharmed and the grave is in good order, 
though the house of Dungeness has been burned and the 
island devastated. Mr. Nightingale, the present pro- 
prietor, accompanied me from Brunswick. Mr. Andrew 
Lowe was so kind as to go with us the whole way, thinking 
Agnes and I were unable to take care of ourselves. Agnes 
seemed to enjoy the trip very much, and has improved in 
health. I shall leave to her all details. We spent a 
night at Colonel Cole's, a beautiful place near Palatka, 
and ate oranges from the trees. We passed some other 
beautiful places on the river, but could not stop at any 
but Jacksonville, where we remained from 4 p. m. to 
3 a. m. next morning, rode over the town, etc., and were 
hospitably entertained by Colonel Sanderson. The 
climate was delightful, the fish inviting and abundant. 
We have returned to our old quarters, Agnes to the 
Lawtons' and I to Lowe's. We shall remain here this 
week, and will probably spend a few days in Charleston 
and Norfolk, if we go that way, and at 'Brandon' and 
'Shirley' before going to the 'White House,' where we 
shall hope to meet you. I know of no certain place 

* This was the money that came to General Lee from his new 
edition of his father's "Memoirs of the War in the Southern Depart- 
ment of the United States." 


where a letter will catch me before I reach Richmond, 
where the doctors desire me to spend a few days that they 
may again examine me. Write me there whether Fitz- 
hugh is too full to receive us. It will depend upon my 
feelings, weather, etc., whether I make the digression by 
Norfolk. Poor little Agnes has had, I fear, but little 
enjoyment so far, and I wish her to have all the pleasure 
she can gather on the route. She is still weak and seems 
to suffer constantly from the neuralgia. I hope I am 
better, I know that I am stronger, but I still have the 
pain in my chest whenever I walk. I have felt it also 
occasionally of late when quiescent, but not badly, 
which is new. To-day Doctors Arnold and Reed, of this 
city, examined me for about an hour. They concur in 
the opinion of the other physicians, and think it pretty 
certain that my trouble arises from some adhesion of 
the parts, not from any injury of the lungs and heart, 
but that the pericardium may not be implicated, and the 

adhesion may be between the pleura and , I have 

forgotten the name. Their visit was at the urgent 
entreaty of friends, which I could not well resist, and 
perhaps their opinion is not fully matured. I am con- 
tinuing the prescriptions Of Doctors Barton and Madison. 
My rheumatic pains, either from the effects of the medicine 
or the climate, or both, have diminished, but the pain 
along the breast bone ever returns on my making any 
exertion. I am glad Mildred has returned so well. I 
hope that she will continue so. After perusal, send this 
letter to one of the children to whom you may be writing, 
that Doctors Barton, etc., may be informed how I am 
getting along, as I have been unable to write to them or 
to any one at Lexington. I have so many letters to 
write in answer to kind invitations, etc., and so many 
interruptions, that my time is consumed. Besides, 
writing is irksome to me. Give my love to Fitzhugh, 
Tabb, and Robert and to Custis, Mary, and Mildred when 
you write. Agnes said she was going out to return some of 
her numerous visits to-day, and I presume will not be able 


to write. She has had but little comfort in her clothes. 
Her silk dress was spoiled on the way, and she returned 
it to Baltimore, but has learned that they can do nothing 
with it, so she will have to do without it, which I presume 
she can do. I hope you may reach the 'White House' 
comfortably. I will apprise you of my movements from 
time to time. I hope my godson will know you. Tell 
him I have numbers of his namesakes since I left Virginia, 
of whom I was not aware. I hope they will come to good. 
"With great affection, 

"R. E. Lee. 
"Mrs. R. E. Lee." 

From the following letters — all that I can find relating 
to this part of the journey — it appears that the travellers 
started for Virginia, stopping at Charleston, Wilmington, 
and Norfolk. Of their visit to Charleston I can find no 
record. He and Agnes stayed at the beautiful home of 
Mr. Bennet, who had two sons at the college, and a 
lovely daughter, Mary Bennet. I remember Agnes' 
telling me of the beautiful flowers and other attentions 
lavished upon them. 

At Wilmington they spent a day with Mr. and Mrs. 
Davis. His coming there was known only to a few persons , 
as its announcement was by a private telegram from 
Savannah, but quite a number of ladies and gentlemen 
secured a small train and went out on the Southern Road 
to meet him. When they met the regular passenger-train 
from Savannah, General Lee was taken from it to the pri- 
vate one and welcomed by his many friends. He seemed 
bright and cheerful and conversed with all. He spoke of 
his health not being good, and on this account begged 
that there would be no public demonstration on his arrival, 
nor during his stay at Wilmington. 

On reaching that place, he accompanied Mr. George 


Davis* to his house and was his guest during his sojourn 
in the city. 

Mrs. Davis was a Miss Fairfax, daughter of Dr. O. Fair- 
fax, of Alexandria, Virginia. They had been and were 
very old and dear friends and neighbours. The next 
morning my father walked out and called on Bishop Atkin- 
son, with whom he had been well acquainted when they 
both lived in Baltimore, some twelve years before, the one 
as rector of St. Peter's (Episcopal) church, the other as 
Captain of United States Engineers, in charge of the 
harbour defenses of the city. 

There was a dinner given to my father that day at Mr. 
Davis's home, and a number of gentlemen were present. 
He was looking very well, but in conversation said that 
he realised there was some trouble with his heart, which 
he was satisfied was incurable. 

The next day, May 1st, he left for Norfolk, Virginia, 
where Dr. and Mrs. Selden were the kind entertainers of 
his daughter and himself. Agnes told me that in going 
and returning from church the street was lined with people 
who stood, hats off, in silent deference. From Norfolk 
they visited "Lower" and " Upper Brandon" on the 
James River, the homes of the Harrisons ; then " Shirley," 
higher up the river. Then they proceeded by way of 
Richmond to the " White House," my mother having 
arrived there from Lexington a short time previously. 
The General wrote from " Brandon" to his wife: 

"'Brandon,' May 7, 1870. 

"My Dear Mary: We have reached this point on our 

journey. Mrs. Harrison and Miss Belle are well and very 

kind, and I have been up to see Mr. William Harrison and 

Mr. George and their families. The former is much bet- 

*Attorney General in Mr. Davis's cabinet. 


ter than I expected to find him, and I hope will recover his 
health as the spring advances. The ladies are all well, 
and Miss Gulie is very handsome. Agnes and I went over 
to see Warrenton Carter and his wife this morning. They 
are both very well, and everything around them looks com- 
fortable and flourishing. They have a nice home, and, as 
far as I could see, everything is prospering. Their little 
boy was asleep, but we were invited in to see him. He is a 
true Carter. Mrs. Page, the daughter of General Richard- 
son, is here on a visit, and Mrs. Murdock, wife of their 
former pastor, arrived this morning. We are to go up to 
Mr. George Harrison's this evening, where the children 
are to have some tableaux, and where we are expected to 
spend the evening. In Norfolk we saw all our friends, but 
I did not succeed in getting out to Richard Page's as I 
desired, on account of the heavy rain on the appointed 
day and engagements that interfered on others. Agnes 
and Mrs. Selden rode out, however, and saw all the family. 
Everybody inquired kindly after you, down to Bryan, 
and all sent their love. ' Brandon ' is looking very beauti- 
ful, and it is refreshing to look at the river. The garden 
is filled with flowers and abounds in roses. The yellow 
jasmine is still in bloom and perfumes the atmosphere. I 
have not heard from you or from Lexington since I left 
Savannah. I hope all are well. I am better, I trust ; am 
getting fat and big, but am still rigid and painful in my 
back. On Tuesday night I expect to go to ' Shirley, ' and 
on Thursday, 12th inst., to Richmond, and on Friday to 
the ' White House,' unless I hear that you are crowded, in 
which case I will submit myself to the doctors for two or 
three days, as they desire, and then go down. Agnes 
now says she will accompany me to the ' White House,' so 
that I shall necessarily pass through Richmond, as our 
baggage renders that route necessary. Therefore, unless 
something unforeseen prevents, I shall be with you on 
Friday next. All unite in love. Agnes, I hope, is better 
than when she left Lexington, but is not strong. You 


must give a great deal of love to Fitzhugh, Tabb, my 
grandson Robert, and all with you. 

"Most truly and affectionately, 

"R. E. Lee. 
"P. S. — Monday. Your note of the 6th with Colonel 
Allan's letter has just been received. I am very sorry to 
hear of Tabb's sickness. I hope that she will be well by 
the time of my arrival. I shall be glad to see Markie. 

"R. E. Lee. 
"Mrs. R. E. Lee." 

On the same date, he writes to his daughter Mildred at 
Lexington : 

"'Brandon,' May 7, 1870. 
" My Dear Daughter: Miss Jennie is putting up her mail 
and says that my letter must go with it, so I have but a 
few minutes to inform you that we have reached this point 
on our way home. We stayed a day in Wilmington with 
the Da vises after leaving Charleston, and several with the 
Seldens in Norfolk, and shall on Tuesday next go up to 
' Shirley, ' and then to the ' White House. ' Agnes threatens 
to abandon me at 'Shirley,' and I wish that you were 
there to take her place. I am better, I hope, certainly am 
stronger and have less pain, but am far from comfortable, 
and have little ability to move or do anything, though 
am growing large and fat. Perhaps that is the cause. 
All here are well and send love. Miss Belle very sweet ; 
all very kind. I rode yesterday to the other ' Brandons, ' 
and saw all the inhabitants. Captain Shirley spent the 
day here. Mr. Wm. Harrison much better, and Miss 
Gulie very pretty. They have some visitors. It is quiet 
and delightful here, the river beautiful. Agnes will write 
when she finds 'time,' which is a scarce commodity with 
her. I had intended to write before breakfast, the longest 
portion of the day, but walked out and forgot it. We 
have little time after breakfast. Give much love to Mary 
and Custis. I hope that you are all well and comfortable. 


I was very glad to receive your letter the morning I left 
Savannah, and I hope that 'Mrs. Smith' and Traveller 
are enjoying themselves. I hope to get back to Lexing- 
ton about the 24th, but will write. After paying my visit 
to the ' White House ' I will have to spend some days in 
Richmond at the doctors' request, as they wish to ex- 
amine me again and more thoroughly. I hope all are 
well at the college. Remember me to all there and in 

"With affectionate love, Your father, 

"R. E. Lee. 
"Miss Mildred Lee." 

The "White House," my brother's home at that time, 
is on the Pamunkey River, about twenty-five miles north 
of "Shirley." From my father's letter it is evident he 
had thought of driving over, instead of going by boat and 
rail through Richmond. This plan was abandoned when 
his daughter determined to accompany him, as a lady's 
baggage, even in those days, was too voluminous for pri- 
vate conveyance. Mr. Wm. Harrison lived at "Upper 
Brandon " and Mr. George Harrison at " Middle Brandon." 
The mistress of " Lower Brandon," the old historic home, 
was Mrs. Isabella Ritchie Harrison, widow of the late 
George Harrison. Miss Jennie, referred to in the above 
letter, was Miss Virginia Ritchie, sister of Mrs. Harrison. 
She had succeeded in having a post-office established at 
"Lower Brandon" and herself made postmistress. This 
was done for the convenience of the " Brandons" and the 
immediate neighbourhood. The proceeds Miss Jennie 
gave to the "Brandon" church. 

Of his visit to "Shirley," his mother's home when she 
was a girl, and where she was married to "Light Horse 
Harry," I can find no account written at the time. It is a 
few hours from "Brandon" to "Shirley" by steamer on 


the beautiful James, and they arrived there Tuesday, 
May 10th, and left the following Thursday by steamer for 
Richmond. So says the Home Journal kept at " Shirley. ' ' 
All the country came to see him, and there was a large 
party to dinner. One of the daughters of the house, then 
a young girl, says: 

" I can only remember the great dignity and kindness 
of General Lee's bearing, how lovely he was to all of us 
girls, that he gave us his photographs and wrote his name 
on them. He liked to have us tickle his hands, but when 
Cousin Agnes came to sit by him that seemed to be her 
privilege. We regarded him with the greatest veneration. 
We had heard of God, but here was General Lee ! " 

My mother was now at the "White House." I will 
here introduce portions of a letter of the 9th and 13th 
of May from her to her daughter in Lexington, telling of 
my father's arrival on the 12th: 

'" White House,' May 9, 1870. 

" Fitzhugh took us on a delightful drive this morning, 
dear Mildred, to Tunstall's, where we got your letter, and 
Markie got nine, including yours, so we were much gratified 
with our excursion. The road was fine, with the excep- 
tion of a few mud-holes, and the woods lovely with wild 
flowers and dogwood blossoms and with all the fragrance 
of early spring, the dark holly and pine intermingling with 
the delicate leaves just brought out by the genial season, 
daisies, wild violets, and heart's-ease. I have not seen so 
many wild flowers since I left Arlington. . . . 

"Thirteenth. — I determined, after commencing this, to 
wait and see your papa, who arrived last evening with 
Agnes. He looks fatter, but I do not like his complexion, 
and he seems still stiff. I have not yet had time to hear 
much of their tour, except a grand dinner given them at 
Mr. Bennet's. Your papa sends his love, and says he will 
be in Lexington somewhere about the 24th. , . , 


There is no news. The country becomes more lovely each 
day. The locust trees are in full bloom, and the polonia, 
the only tree left of all that were planted by poor Char- 
lotte and myself. How all our labours have come to 
naught. The General has just come in. Robbie is riding 
on his knee, sitting as grave as a judge. He says now 
'Markie,' 'Agnes,' and many other words, and calls me 
1 Bonne Mama.' We expect Rob this morning. . . . 
" Yours affectionately, 

"M. C. Lee." 

At this time my father was persuaded to make me a 
visit. He had been invited before, when at different 
times he had been to the " White House," but something 
had hitherto always prevented his coming ; now he decided 
to come. My "Romancoke" farm was situated in King 
William County, on the opposite side of the Pamunkey 
River, and some fifteen miles east of "White House." 
We arrived there in the afternoon, having come down by 
the steamer, which at that time ran from " White House " 
to Baltimore. " Romancoke " had been always a depen- 
dency of the " White House," and was managed by an 
overseer who was subordinate to the manager on the 
latter estate. There was on it only a small house, of the 
size usual in our country for that character of property. 
I had taken possession in 1866, and was preparing to build 
a more comfortable residence, but in the meantime I 
lived in the house which had been occupied by the differ- 
ent overseers for about seventy -five years. Its accom- 
modations were very limited, simple, and it was much out 
of repair. Owing to the settling of the underpinning in 
the centre, it had assumed a "sway -backed" outline, 
which gave it the name of the " broken-back house." No 
repairs had been attempted, as I was preparing to build a 
new home, 


My father, always dignified and self-contained, rarely 
gave any evidence of being astonished or startled. His 
self-control was great and his emotions were not on the 
surface, but when he entered and looked around my bache- 
lor quarters he appeared really much shocked. As I was 
much better off in the matter of housekeeping than I had 
been for four years, I flattered myself that I was doing 
very well. I can appreciate fully now what he must have 
felt at the time. However, he soon rallied and concealed 
his dismay by making kindly fun of my surroundings. 
The next day at dinner he felt obliged to remark on my 
china, knives, and forks, and suggested that I might at 
least better my holdings in that line. When he got back 
to Richmond he sent me a full set of plated forks and 
spoons, which I have been using from that day to this. 
He walked and drove over the farm, discussed my plans 
for improvement, and was much interested in all my 
work, advising me about the site of my new house, new 
barns, ice-house, etc. He evidently enjoyed his visit, for 
the quiet and the rest were very refreshing. 

About thirty miles, as the crow flies, from my place, 
down York River, is situated, in Gloucester County, 
" White Marsh, "an old Virginia home which then belonged 
to Dr. Prosser Tabb, who with his wife and children was 
living there. Mrs. Tabb was a near cousin of my father, 
and as a little girl had been a pet and favourite. His 
affection and regard for her had lasted from his early man- 
hood. He had seen but little of her since the war, and 
when "Cousin Rebecca," as we all called her, learned he 
was to be at the ''White House," she wrote begging him 
to pay her a visit. This he had agreed to do if it was 

While at the " White House," we had consulted together 


as to the best method of accomplishing this trip, and we 
determined to make it from "Romancoke." So I drove 
him to West Point, and there got aboard the Baltimore 
steamer, taking my horse and trap with us. At Cap- 
pahoosic, a wharf on the York, we landed and drove the 
nine miles to "White Marsh," arriving at "supper time," 
as we still say in Virginia — i. e., about 7 130 P. m. 

When General Lee got off on the wharf, so great was the 
desire of the passengers and crew to see him, that they all 
went to the side of the boat, which caused her to list so 
that I was unable to get my horse out through the gang- 
way until the captain had ordered every one to the other 
side. As the sun went down, it became chilly and I drove 
quite rapidly, anxious to get my father out of the night 
air as soon as possible. He said nothing at the time, nor 
did I know that he noticed my unusual speed. But after- 
ward he remarked on it to several persons, saying : 

"I think Rob drives unnecessarily fast." 

We were expected, and were met at the door by all the 
family and guests. A hearty welcome was given us. 
After supper he was the centre of the circle in the drawing- 
room, and made the acquaintance of the children of the 
house and of the friends and relatives of the family who 
were there. He said little, but all listened eagerly to what 
he did say, and were charmed with his pleasant smile and 
gracious manner. "Cousin Rebecca" introduced him to 
her son-in-law, Captain Perrin, mentioning that he had 
been wounded in the war and was still lame from the 
effects. The General replied that at any rate he was all 
right now, for he had a pair of strong young feet to wait 
upon him, indicating his young wife. 

As was customary in this section of Virginia, the house 
was full of visitors, and I shared my father's room and 



bed. Though many a year had passed since we had been 
bedfellows, he told me that he remembered well the time 
when, as a little fellow, I had begged for this privilege. 
The next day he walked about the beautiful gardens, and 
was driven over the plantation and shown the landscapes 
and water views of the immediate neighbourhood. Mr. 
Graves, Dr. Tabb's overseer, who had the honour of being 
his coachman, fully appreciated it, and was delighted 
when my father praised his management. He had been a 
soldier under the General, and had stoutly carried his mus- 
ket to Appomatox, where he surrendered it. When told 
of this by Dr. Tabb, my father took occasion to compli- 
ment him on his steadfast endurance and courage, but 
Graves simply and sincerely replied, 

" Yes, General, I stuck to the army, but if you had in 
your entire command a greater coward than I was, you 
ought to have had him shot." 

My father, who was greatly amused at his candour, 
spoke of it when he got back from his drive, saying " that 
sort of a coward makes a good soldier." 

That the drive had fatigued him was quite apparent to 
Cousin Rebecca, who begged him to go and lie down to 
rest, but he declined, though, finally, at her request, he 
consented to take a glass of wine. Mrs. Tabb was 
anxious to give a general reception that day in his honour, 
so that all the old soldiers in the country could have an 
opportunity of shaking hands with him, but at the 
General's request the idea was abandoned. 

Several persons were invited to meet him at dinner, 
among them the Rev. Mr. Phillips, an Englishman, the 
rector of Abingdon, an old Colonial church in the county. 
He and his wife were ardent admirers of General Lee, and 
had often expressed a great desire to see him, so Mrs. 


Tabb kindly gave them this opportunity. They were 
charmed with him, and, writing to their friends in Eng- 
land, declared: 

u The greatest event in our lives has occurred — we 
have seen General Lee." 

One of his young cousins, in talking with him, wondered 
what fate was in store for "us poor Virginians." The 
General replied with an earnest, softened look: 

" You can work for Virginia, to build her up again, 
to make her great again. You can teach your children 
to love and cherish her." 

I was struck with the tenderness of his manner to all 
these cousins, many of whom he had never seen before, 
and the real affection and interest he manifested toward 
them. He seemed pleased and touched by their love 
and kindness. I think he enjoyed his visit, but it was 
plain that he was easily fatigued. 

To catch our steamer the next morning, an early start 
was necessary. Arrangements were made the night 
before, and all good-byes said, for we had to leave the 
house about five o'clock. That night he was very 
restless and wakeful, and remarked that it was generally 
so with him whenever he had to get up at an unusual 
hour, as he was always uneasy lest he might be late. 
However, we got off in full time — made the connection 
with our steamer, and returned immediately to the 
"White House." I left the steamer at West Point to 
take my horse home, after which I joined him at the 
former place. 

After a short stay at the "White House," he started 
for Lexington, stopping over in Richmond for a few 
days. From there he writes to his daughter Mildred in 
Lexington : 



" Richmond, Virginia, May 23, 1870. 

" My Precious Daughter: I came up from the ' White 
House' this morning with Agnes, but she threatens to 
divorce herself from me, and we have already separated. 
She is at Dr. Fairfax's and I am at Mr. Macfarland's. She 
promises, however, to see me occasionally, and if I can 
restore our travelling relations even at costly sacrifice I 
shall be happy to take her along with me. I find I shall 
be detained here too long to take the Wednesday's boat 
from Lynchburg, but, if not prevented by circumstances 
now not foreseen, I shall take the Friday's boat, so as to 
reach Lexington Saturday morning, 28th inst. If Sam 
is well enough, and it should be otherwise convenient, 
he could meet me with Lucy and the carriage or with 
Traveller. If not, I will get a seat up in the omnibus. 
Your mother proposes to leave in the boat for Bremo on 
the 1st proximo, spend one week there, and then continue 
her journey to Lexington. Agnes has not yet made up 
her mind whether she will go with me, her mother, or 
remain for a while. I hope to find you well, though alone. 
I must reserve all accounts till we meet, which I am very 
anxious should take place as soon as practicable. I am 
improving, I think, in general health, but cannot tell 
certainly as to the difficulty in my chest, as I have been 
unable to test my progress. I had a pleasant visit to 

F and Robert, and enjoyed rest there, which I 

wanted. Love to Custis and kind regards to all friends. 
I hope that I shall find all well and doing well. All at 
the 'White House' send love. Poor Tabb is still sick. 
Markie Williams is with your mother. Robert came 
up with us, but returns this evening. I have seen Dr. 
Houston this morning, and I am to have a great medicine 
talk to-morrow. 

"Your devoted father, 

"R. E. Lee. 

"Miss Mildred Lee." 

A Round of Visits 






Judged by what he says of himself, my father's trip 
South did him no permanent good. The rest and change, 
the meeting with many old friends, the great love and 
kindness shown him by all, gave him much pleasure, 
and for a time it was thought he was better; but the 
main cause of his trouble was not removed, though for a 
while held in check. 

During the month of June he remained in Lexington, 
was present at the final examinations of the college, and 
attended to all his duties as usual. On July ist he went 
to Baltimore in order to consult Dr. Thomas H. Buckler 
about his health. 

While there he stayed with Mr. and Mrs. Tagart. 

My mother had returned to Lexington after her visit 
to "Bremo," together with my sister Agnes. To her, 
on July 2d, he writes: 

"Baltimore, Maryland, July 2, 1870. 
"My Dear Mary: I reached here yesterday evening at 
9:15 p. m. Found Mr. Tagart at the depot waiting for 



me, where he had been since eight o'clock, thanks to his 
having a punctual wife, who regulates everything for 
him, so that he had plenty of time for reflection. I 
believe, however, the delay was occasioned by change 
of schedule that day, of which Mrs. Tagart was not 
advised. We arrived at Alexandria at 5:00 p. m., and 
were taken to Washington and kept in the cars till 7 145 , 
when we were sent on. It was the hottest day I ever 
experienced, or I was in the hottest position I ever 
occupied, both on board the packet and in the railroad 
cars, or I was less able to stand it, for I never recollect 
having suffered so much. Dr. Buckler came in to see 
me this morning, and examined me, stripped, for two 
hours. He says' he finds my lungs working well, the 
action of the heart a little too much diffused, but nothing 
to injure. He is inclined to think that my whole diffi- 
culty arises from rheumatic excitement, both the first 
attack in front of Fredericksburg and the second last 
winter. Says I appear to have a rheumatic constitution, 
must guard against cold, keep out in the air, exercise, 
etc., as the other physicians prescribe. He will see me 
again. In the meantime, he has told me to try lemon- 
juice and watch the effect. I will endeavour to get out to 
Washington Peter's on the 4th and to Goodwood as soon 

as Dr. B is satisfied. Mr. and Mrs. Tagart are very 

well and send regards. The messenger is waiting to 
take this to the office. It is raining, and I have not been 
out nor seen any one out of the house. I hope all are 
well with you, and regret that I was obliged to come 
away. Tell the girls I was so overcome that I could not 
get up this morning till 8:00 a. m. Give much love to 
everybody, and believe me most truly, 

"R. E. Lee." 

The advantages of early rising my father ever held out 
to his daughters, so that he knew they would enjoy hearing 
of his being late in getting down in the morning. During 


this visit to Baltimore he took advantage of his prox- 
imity to many old friends to visit them. 

His next letter is from Alexandria to my mother: 

" Alexandria, Virginia, July 15, 1870. 

"My Dear Mary: I arrived here last evening from 
Goodwood, and was glad to hear from Burke this morning 
that our Aunt Maria was as well as usual. I wish to get 
out to Cassius Lee's this afternoon, and will spend to- 
morrow on the Hill in visiting General Cooper, Mr. Mason, 
the Bishop, etc.* Next week I shall go to Ravensworth 
and from there think I shall proceed to Lexington. It is 
so hot that I shall be obliged to forego my visit to Nannie 
and the ' White House.' It is intensely hot here and I am 
unable to bear the heat now. I took cold yesterday in 
the cars or elsewhere and am full of pains this morning, 
and was unable to sleep last night. 

" I have seen Mr. Smith t this morning and had with 
him a long business talk, and will see him again after 
seeing Cassius. The prospect is not promising. I got 
your letter at Charles's. Thank Agnes for hers. All were 
well there and on West River, and sent you all messages 
of love. I will give all particulars when we meet. I am 
at the Mansion House, where it is piping hot. I had felt 
better until I caught fresh cold, but no one can avoid it 
in such weather. Love to all. I cannot fix yet the day 
of my return, but it will be the last week in July. 

* "Aunt M " was Mrs. Fitzhugh of "Ravensworth," and 

" Burke," her coloured servant; Cassius Lee, my father's cousin ; Gen- 
eral S. S. Cooper, Adj. General of the C. S. armies ; Mr. J. M. Mason, 
Senator in U. S. and C. S. Congress ; the Bishop, Bishop Johns of 
Virginia, all at that time living on the " Hill" — or Seminary Hill — 
about two miles from Alexandria. 

t Mr. Francis L. Smith was rny father's lawyer. The matter 
referred to which caused the remark, "The prospect is not promising," 
was the chance of getting back the estate of Arlington from the U. S. 
Government. Mr. Smith and Mr. Cassius Lee were my father's 
advisers in this matter. "Nannie " was the widow of Captain S. S. Lee, 
my father's brother. 


" I hope Custis has got off, though I shall not be able 
to see him. 

"Most truly and affectionately, 

"R. E. Lee. 
"Mrs. R. E. Lee." 

Mr. Cassius Lee was my father's first cousin. They 
had been children together, schoolmates in boyhood, 
and lifelong friends and neighbours. He was my father's 
trusted adviser in all business matters, and in him he 
had the greatest confidence. Mr. Cazenove Lee, of 
Washington, D. C, his son, has kindly furnished me with 
some of his recollections of this visit, which I give in his 
own words : 

"It is greatly to be regretted that an accurate and 
full account of this visit was not preserved, for the con- 
versations during those two or three days were most in- 
teresting and would have rilled a volume. It was the 
review of a lifetime by two old men. It is believed that 
General Lee never talked after the war with as little 
reserve as on this occasion. Only my father and two of 
his boys were present. I can remember his telling my 
father of meeting Mr. Leary, their old teacher at the 
Alexandria Academy, during his late visit to the South, 
which recalled many incidents of their school life. They 
talked of the war, and he told of the delay of Jackson in 
getting on McClellan's flank, causing the fight at Mechan- 
icsville, which fight he said was unexpected, but was 
necessary to prevent McClellan from entering Richmond, 
from the front of which most of the troops had been 
moved. He thought that if Jackson had been at Gettys- 
burg the would have gained a victory, 'for' said he, 
'Jackson would have held the heights which Ewell took 
on the first day.' He said that Ewell was a fine officer, 
but would never take the responsibility of exceeding his 
orders, and having been ordered to Gettysburg, he would 


not go farther and hold the heights beyond the town. I 
asked him which of the Federal generals he considered 
the greatest, and he answered most emphatically ' McClel- 
lan by all odds.' He was asked why he did not come 
to Washington after second Manassas. 

"'Because,' he replied, 'my men had nothing to eat,' 
and pointing to Fort Wade, in the rear of our home, he 
said, ' I could not tell my men to take that fort when they 
had had nothing to eat for three days. I went to Mary- 
land to feed my army.' 

" This led to a statement of the mismanagement of the 
Confederate Commissary Department, of which he gave 
numerous instances, and mentioned his embarrassments in 
consequence. He was also very severe in his criticism 
of the newspapers, and said that patriotism did not seem 
to influence them in the least, that movements of the 
army were published which frustrated their plans, and, 
as an instance, he told of Longstreet's being sent to the 
Western Army and the efforts that were made to keep 
the movement secret, but to no purpose, the papers 
having heralded it at once to friend and foe alike. I 
also remember his saying that he advocated putting the 
negroes in the army, and the arguments he advanced in 
favour of it. My father remarked at table one day that 
he could not have starved in the Confederate service if 
he could have gotten bread and milk. 

" 'No,' replied the General, 'but frequently I could not 
get even that.' 

" His love of children was most marked, and he never 
failed to show them patient consideration. On the 
occasion of this visit, his answers to all our boyish ques- 
tions were given with as much detail and as readily as if 
we had been the most important men in the community. 
Several years before the war I remember that my sister, 
brother, and myself, all young children, drove over to 
Arlington Mills, and that while going there Colonel Lee 
rode up on a beautiful black horse. He impressed my 
childish fancy then as the handsomest and finest horse- 


man I had ever seen — the beau-ideal of a soldier. Upon 
seeing us he at once stopped, spoke to each of us, and 
took my sister, then about ten years of age, upon his 
horse before him, and rode with us for two miles, telling 
her, I remember, of his boy Robby, who had a pony, 
and who should be her sweetheart. Often have I seen 
him on the road or street or elsewhere, and though I was 
'only a boy,' he always stopped and had something 
pleasant to say to me." 

The Mr. Leary mentioned here was my father's teacher 
when a boy in Alexandria. His regard and esteem for 
him was very high, as is shown in the following letter: 

"Lexington, Virginia, December 15, 1866. 
"Mr. Wm. B. Leary. 

" My Dear Sir: Your visit has recalled to me years long 
since passed, when I was under your tuition and received 
daily your instruction. In parting from you, I beg to 
express the gratitude I have felt all my life for the 
affectionate fidelity which characterised your teaching 
and conduct toward me. Should any of my friends, 
wherever your lot may be cast, desire to know your 
qualifications as a teacher, I hope you will refer them 
to me; for that is a subject on which I can speak know- 
ingly and from experience. Wishing you health, hap- 
piness, and prosperity, I am, affectionately, 
"Your friend, 

"R. E. Lee." 

His next letter is from " Ravens worth, " where he went 
after his visit to the "Seminary Hill": 

" Ravensworth, Virginia, July 20, 1870. 
11 My Dear Mary: I arrived here yesterday from Alex- 
andria and found Aunt Maria well in general health, but 
less free to walk than when I last saw her. She is cheerful 
and quiet, but seems indisposed to try any of the healing 


baths, or, indeed, any of the remedies resorted to in cases 
of similar character, and seems to think nothing will be 
of avail. I hope in time that she will be relieved. Her 
niece, Mrs. Goldsborough, the daughter of her sister 
Wilhelmina, is with her. She seems to be a nice little 
lady — has a big boy of eight months, and is expecting 
her husband to-morrow, so nothing need be said more 
on her account. Mr. Dickens was over last evening, 
and reports all well with him. All the family are to be 
over this evening, so I cannot say more of them. Ravens- 
worth is looking very well — I mean the house and grounds, 
but little of the farm seems to be cultivated, and is grow- 
ing up with pines. I received your letter directed to 
Alexandria after my return from my visit to Cassius, also 
Colonel Williamson's. Resolutions will not build the 
church. It will require money. Mr. Smith did not give 
so favourable an account of Mr. Price as did Mr. Green. 

I did not see Mr. P , for it would have been of no 

avail without having the plans, etc., and I cannot wait 
here to receive them. I shall have to send them, or to 
invite him to Lexington after my return. I propose to 
leave here, if nothing prevents, on Monday, 25th inst. 
If I go by Goshen, I hope to reach Lexington that night, 
or Tuesday morning after breakfast. I have heard a 
rumour that the water has been withdrawn from the 
canal above Lynchburg for the purpose of repairs. If 
that is so, I shall have to go by Goshen. My cold con- 
tinues, but is better. The weather is very hot and to 
me is almost insupportable. At 6 :oo p. m. yesterday, the 
thermometer in Ravens worth hall marked 86°. This 
morning, when I first went out, it stood at 84 . Thank 
Agnes for her letter. I cannot respond at this time. 
The letter you forwarded from Mrs. Podestad describes 
the sickness her children have passed through. She is 
now with them at Capon, and Miss Emily has gone to 

visit Mrs. Barksdale in Greenbrier. Mrs. P says 

she will be ready to visit you any time after the middle 
of August that you will notify her. I am glad all are well 


with you, and hope the garden will give you some vege- 
tables. I am anxious to get back and see you all. Give 
much love to the girls, including the Misses Selden. Tell 
them they must not leave till I return, that I am hurrying 
back as fast as rheumatism will let me. I have aban- 
doned my visit to Nannie and the boys on the Pamunkey. 
Tell them it is too hot and that I am too painful. Aunt 

M- sends love to all. Remember me to all friends. 

I must leave details till I return. 

"Most truly and affectionately, 

"R. E. Lee. 
"Mrs. R. E. Lee." 

The building of the church here referred to was the 
Episcopal church in Lexington, which it was proposed 
to take down and replace with a larger and better build- 
ing. My father was a vestryman, and also a member of 
the building committee. 

Dr. Buckler, whom my father had consulted in July, was 
at this time on a visit to Baltimore, having lived abroad 
with his family since 1866. When about to return to 
Paris he wrote and asked my father to accompany him. 

This invitation he was obliged to decline. 

"Lexington, Virginia, August 5, 1870. 
"My Dear Doctor: I have just received your letter of 
the 4th inviting me to accompany you across the Atlantic, 
and I return you my cordial thanks for your kind solici- 
tation for my health and comfort. There is no one 
whom I would prefer to have as a companion on the voy- 
age, nor is there one, I am sure, who would take better 
care of me. But I cannot impose myself upon you. 
I have given you sufficient trouble already, and you must 
cure me on this side of the Atlantic. If you are the man 
I take you for, you will do so. You must present my 
warmest thanks to your wife for her remembrance of me 
and her kind offer of the hospitalities of her house. 


Should I ever be able to visit Europe I shall certainly 
accept them, but I hope she will soon return to this 
country and that you will bring her up to the mountains 
to us. We are all peaceable here now and she will find 
that we are not as bad as we have been reported to be, 
and every one will extend to her a hearty welcome, whereas 
Europe is now convulsed with the horrors of war or the 
agony of its expectancy, and I fear for a season is destined 
to feel the greatest calamity that can befall a people. I 
am happy to inform you that my health is better. I am 
pursuing your directions and hope that I am deriving 
benefit from them. I have made my arrangements to 
visit the Hot Springs, Virginia, on Monday next, as you 
recommended, and trust I may find relief from them. 
My rheumatic pains continue, but have diminished, and 
that in my shoulder, I think, has lessened under the 
application of the blister. I shall endeavour to be well 
by the fall. The letter you inclosed to me was from Mrs. 
Smith on the Hudson — and not from Mr. Henry White, 
as you supposed. Good-bye, my dear doctor; may you 
have a prosperous voyage and find your family all well 
on your arrival, and may your own health be entirely 
restored. My family unite with me in every kind wish, 
and I am most truly, 

"Your friend, 

"R. E. Lee. 
"Dr. Thomas H. Buckler." 

This letter to General Cooper (Adjutarft General of the 
Confederate States Army), written at this time, explains 
itself, and is one of many witnesses of my father's delicate 
consideration for old soldiers in distress : 

"Lexington, Virginia, August 4, 1870. 
"General S. Cooper, 

"Alexandria, Virginia. 
" My Dear General: Impressed, with all the people of 
the South, with your merits and services, I have with 


them admired your manly efforts to support your family, 
and have regretted that more remunerative occupation, 
better suited to your capacities and former habits, had 
not presented itself. This has been a subject of conver- 
sation with some of us here, and when in Savannah last 
spring I presented it to General Lawton, Colonel Cole, and 
others, and suggested that efforts be made to raise a sum 
for the relief of any pressing necessity. The idea was 
cordially adopted, and it was hoped that an amount 
would be contributed that would enable you to receive 
some relaxation. I have received a letter from General 
Lawton regretting the smallness of the sum collected, 
$300, and explaining the delay that had occurred, the 
general poverty of the people, the many calls upon them, 
and the disposition to procrastinate when facts are not 
known to them personally. To this sum I have only been 
able to add $100, but I hope it may enable you to supply 
some immediate want and prevent you from taxing your 
strength too much. You must also pardon me for my 
moving in this matter, and for the foregoing explanation, 
which I feel obliged to make that you might understand 
the subject. 

"With my best wishes for your health and happiness 
and for the useful prolongation of your honourable life, 
I am, with true regard, 

"Your friend and servant. 

"R. E. Lee." 

He remained at Lexington only for a short time, as it 
was decided that he should go to the Hot Springs, 
Virginia, where he could try their famous waters for his 
rheumatism. On the day of his arrival he writes to my 
mother : 

"Hot Springs, Bath County, Virginia, 
"August 10, 1870. 
" My Dear Mary: We reached here this morning about 
9:30 A. m., Captain White and I, after as pleasant a jour- 


ney as we could have expected. After taking the cars 
at Goshen, the old route by Milboro' rose up so strong 
before me that we determined to adhere to it. Reached 
the Bath Alum about 4:00 p. m., where we passed the 
night and were in luck in finding several schools or parts 
of them rusticating on alum-water. Mrs. Heath was in 
charge of the detachment from Dr. Phillips's.* They 
presented a gay and happy appearance. This morning 
we breakfasted at the Warm and had the attention of 
Richard. There is a small party there, Admiral Louis 
Goldsborough with his wife and Miss West amongst 
them. Here there is quite a company. Mrs. Lemmon 
from Baltimore, her daughter Mrs. Dobbin, Mrs. General 
Walker, wife of the ex-Secretary of War of the Confed- 
eracy, Mrs. and Miss Sivent, etc., etc. 

" Dr. and Mrs. Cabell are here, and the Tardys and Mrs. 
Mac regret that you are not with me. . . I saw Mrs. 
Maize at the Warm, and her sister from Kentucky, Mrs. 
Tate. Rev. Mr. Mason and the Daingerfields have a 
girls' school in the village. The Warm seems to be 
retrograding. I hope the new man, Edward, has arrived. 
Tell him to take good care of the cow, and ask the girls 
to see to her and the garden, etc. I saw Mrs. Caskie at 
the Baths. She looks very well. Her niece, Gay, is 
with her, a pretty little child. Mrs. Myers and her 
children are also there. Mrs. Asher also. Small 
company, but select. All pleased with Mr. Brown. f 
Tell the girls I have no one to rub me now. Shall 
miss them in this and other ways much. Dr. Cabell 
says I must continue my medicines and commence 
with the hot spout to-morrow. He has great con- 
fidence in the waters, and says that 95 out of 100 
patients that he has treated have recovered. I shall 
alternate the spout with the boiler. But he says the 
great error is that people become impatient and do not 
stay long enough. I hope I may be benefited, but it is 

*A well-known girls' school at Staunton. 
f The manager of the hotel. 


a tedious prospect. I hope that you all will continue 
well. If you wish to go to the Baths, or to come here, 
you must do so and write me what you want, if there is 
anything I can do or get for you. Give love to all 
the girls and remembrances to all friends. Tell our 
neighbours that I was so occupied the last days I was in 
Lexington that I had not time to bid them adieu. If 
you want more money let me know. God bless you and 
preserve you all. Good-bye, dear Mary. 
"Most truly, 

"R. E. Lee. 
"Mrs. M. C. Lee." 

The Richard mentioned had been lately his house ser- 
vant at Lexington, and Edward was a new man he had 
engaged for the garden and stable. The letters written 
to my mother and others of his ' family from the Hot 
Springs at this time were frequent, and I give them in 
full, as they tell all we know now of his visit there : 

"Hot Springs, Bath County, Virginia, 
August 14, 1870. 
"My Dear Mary: I received this morning the last let- 
ters forwarded by you. The first batch arrived yesterday. 
I am glad to hear that you all continue well. I hope my 
letter of the 10th, announcing my arrival, has reached 
you. It should have done so, it seems to me, previously 
to your note of Friday. I have but little more to say 
than I had then. I have taken four baths, Hot Spout, 
which seems to agree with me very well, but it is too soon 
yet to look for results. I receive the water on my shoul- 
der, back, and chest. The sensation is pleasant, and so far 
I have succeeded in preventing taking cold. The atmos- 
phere, however, is damp, and temperature variable. 
When the sun shines, it is hot ; but when it rains, which is 
the usual condition of the weather, the former the excep- 
tion, it is cool. Mrs. Sledge and party are here, the for- 


mer improved. She was much better, went over to the 
White and Sweet, retrograded, and returned. Will stay 
here September. Many of our invalids are improving. 
Society has a rather solemn appearance, and conversa- 
tion runs mostly on personal ailments, baths, and damp 
weather. There were some pretty tableaux last evening. 
The Misses Tardy, Mrs. Dobbin, and the little girls, the 
performers. Mr. Washington* is here. He looks well, is 
quiet, and has been copying points of scenery in the neigh- 
bourhood. I do not know whether he was in search of 
health or the picturesque. The latter is more easily found 
in these mountains than the former. Captain White is 
well and sends remembrances to all. I hope Edward has 
arrived and is an improvement on the present occupant of 
the situation. If he does not present himself, retain 
Henry till I come. I will endeavour to find some one. 
You do not mention the cow ; she is of more interest to 
me than the cats, and is equally destructive of rats. I am 
glad the girls are well; what are they troubling about 
now? I wish they were with me. I find many ladies 
here for neuralgia. Mrs. General Walker has been much 
benefited, also others. If little Agnes should desire to 
try the effects of the waters, tell her to come on, I will take 
care of her. I suppose Tabb will go with her husband. 
I am sorry Fitzhugh is complaining. I have written to 
Rob and Miss Lottie. t I heard of Charles Carter'sJ pass- 
ing up the road to the White, and Mildred preceded him a 
week. Ella, I hear, is much improved. I shall not go to 
the White unless specially called by something now 
unknown, but will remain here till the end of the month, 
if I find it profitable, and then return to Lexington. I 
hope the college is prospering. What does Mrs. Podestad 

* William Washington, a well-known painter of that day, who 
was for a short time professor of painting and drawing at the Virginia 
Military Institute at Lexington. 

fMiss Charlotte Haxall, afterward Mrs. Robert E. Lee, Jr., who 
died in 1872. 

J Charles Carter, of "Goodwood," Maryland, was my father's first 
cousin. Mildred and Ella, two of his daughters. 


say ?. I understand that Markie Peter* and child are occu- 
pying her old quarters at the Lomaxes near Warrenton. 
I have a merry time with my old cronies, tell Mildred. I 
am getting too heavy for them now. They soon drop me. 
I am getting uneasy about Edward and Blanche. The 
reverses of the French, which seem to be light, appear to 
have demoralised the nation. May God help all in afflic- 
tion and keep and guard you and all with you, is my con- 
stant prayer. 

"Truly and affectionately, 

"R. E. Lee. 
"Mrs. M. C. Lee." 

" Hot Springs, Bath County, Virginia, 
August 19, 1870. 
"My Dear Mary: I received this morning your letters 
of the 14th and 18th, inclosing Dr. Buckler's, and was 
informed by Colonel Turner that he had brought the 
package to which you referred. He has not yet sent it 
to me, but, no doubt, will in time. I am sorry that 
Edward has not kept his engagement, for I liked his 
appearance and recommendations, though perhaps they 
are deceptive. You had better retain Henry till I come, 
unless you fall in with a better. I am glad that you are 
all well. You have such industrious little daughters 
that I am sure all will go well. Thank Agnes for her let- 
ter and say to her that I have not seen Mr. Vanmeter or 
Blair, but gave the letter to the former to Colonel White, 
who will send it to him when he finds out his position. 
Mr. Thorn arrived this morning and Mr. John Johns and 
family rode over from the Healing. They are there for a 
sick child. My old friend, Dr. Broaddus, and the Rev- 
erend Mr. Jones also presented themselves. ... I 
have been trying the Boiler for four days — and the Spout 
the five preceding. I do not perceive any benefit yet, 
though some little change in the seat of my pains. I will 

* Mrs. Peter was a near cousin of my mother, and with her as a little 
girl our associations had been very near. 


continue till the middle of next week, the 29th, when, if 
no decided improvement takes place, I think of going 
over to the Healing. Dr. Houston thinks that it will be 
beneficial, whereas Dr. Cabell recommends this. I am 
obliged to be in Staunton on the 30th ult. to attend a 
meeting of the Valley Railroad Company, so I shall leave 
here on the 29th for that purpose. After getting through 
with that business, I shall return to Lexington. I am 
sorry that I shall be called away, but I fear my stay here 
would be of no avail. Colonel White is well and sends 
regards to all. I am glad that the cow is better. She 
stands next in my affections to Traveller. ... I hope 
that Agnes 's neuralgia is better, and as she has not ac- 
cepted my proposition I presume she declines. Hot 
bathing is not agreeable to me either in its operations or 
effects, but I see daily evidences of its good results in 
others. I wish that it suited your case. You must try 
and get some one in Sally's place if Tabb, etc., come, and 
make them all comfortable. If you want more money, 
let me know in time. Send over to Mr. Leyburn for the 
flour, when you want it. Mr. Bowie, I suspect, can 
arrange it for you. I fear Captain Brooks's house will 
not be ready for occupancy this fall. I hope that General 
Smith will begin Custis's in time. I heard of him on his 
way to Edward Cocke's the other day. Mr. Washington 
is still here. Better, I think. Again love to all. 
" Most truly and affectionately, 

"R. E. Lee. 
" P. S. — Mr. Turner has just sent me the package. 

"R. E. L." 

To his son Fitzhugh, who was at the " White House' ' 
with his family: 

"Hot Springs, Bath County, Virginia, 
August 20, 1870. 
" My Dear Fitzhugh: I am very sorry to learn from your 
letter of the 18th, received this morning, that Tabb is sick. 


I hope that it will be of short duration and that she will 
soon throw off the chills. The mountain doctors, how- 
ever, do not understand them as well as the lowland, and 
are apt to resort to the old practice. I wish that I could 
get to the White to see you, but my time is too limited, 
owing to the late day that I was able to leave Lexington. 
I propose staying here till the 29th inst., which will only 
make my sojourn here two and a half weeks, and then 
going to Staunton, where I am obliged to attend a meeting 
of the Valley Railroad Company on the 30th. I hope that 
I shall not be detained there longer than a day or two, when 
I will return to Lexington, where I hope to find you all. 
You must tell Mr. and Mrs. Podestad, Mr. Carter, Ella, 
etc., how sorry I am not to see them at the White, but 
that I hope they will call at Lexington. I wrote to Ella 
on my first arrival here, but presume my letter failed to 
reach her. You did not mention how her health was. I 
am much concerned at Tabb's indisposition, but am glad 
to hear that the baby is well. Give my love to both, and 
I trust you will all be benefited by the mountain air. 
My personal health is good, but I see no change in my 
rheumatic attack, which is principally confined to my chest 
and back. I inclose a note from your mother, transmitted 
on the supposition that I would write to you. Profes- 
sor White is with me and I have some few acquaintances, 
but I am anxious to return. I am glad that Bertus has 
had a short visit to Orange. He says that he will come 
to Rockbridge in September. Custis will be there by the 
first, and we shall all, I hope, be together again. 

"R. E. Lee." 

" Hot Springs, Bath County, Virginia, 
"August 23, 1870. 
" My Dear Mary: I have received your various notes 
of the 17th and 18th, and I am glad to hear of your well- 
being. Our good cow will be a loss to us, but her troubles 
are all over now, and I am grateful to her for what she has 


done for us. I hope that we did our duty to her. I have 
written to Mr. Andrew Cameron to inquire about a young 
cow he has of mine, and asked him to let you know if she 
is giving milk. If his report is good, you had better send 
for her. She is, however, young, and will require very 
gentle treatment. Caution Henry on that point. I have 

told him, Mr. C , also, that you would send for the 

horses, which I wish you would do as soon as you can see 
that they will be properly cared for. Tell Henry to be 
particularly gentle and kind to them, or the gray will give 
him great trouble. He must wash them clean, and not 
pull out their manes and tails. The girls will have to 
exercise them till Custis comes. I suppose we may give 
up expecting Edward. Retain Henry till you can find 
some one better. You had also better engage some woman 
or man for a month as a dining-room servant. I think 
Easter has no intention of coming to us before October, 

and she will not come then if Mr. can keep her. 

You will have so many friends staying with you that you 
cannot make them comfortable unless you have more 
servants. As I stated in a previous letter, I shall go to 
Staunton on the 29th. I hope I shall be detained but a 
few days. Lest your funds may run low, I send you a 
check . . . The girls can get it cashed. I may be 
detained, but I hope to return in time to see our children 
and friends. I have been here a fortnight to-day. I hope 
that I am better, but am aware of no material change, 
except that I am weaker. I am very anxious to get back. 
It is very wearying at these public places and the benefit 
hardly worth the cost. I do not think I can even stand 
Lexington long. Colonels Allan and Johnston* arrived 
this evening on horseback and have given me all Lexing- 
ton news. Mr. Sledge and his wife, from Huntsville, 
brother of the Colonel, also arrived, and a Mr. and Mrs. 
Leeds, from New Orleans, with ten children, mostly little 

* Professors Wm. Allan and William Preston Johnston of Washington 
College. The former afterward principal of the McDonough School, 
near Baltimore, Maryland; the latter president of Tulane University, 
New Orleans. 


girls. The latter are a great addition to my comfort. I 
have written to Fitzhugh and Mrs. Podestad. Robert, 
you know, said he would make his annual visit the first 
week in September. Tell the girls they must make 
preparations to welcome all. Mrs. Walker, wife of the 
former Secretary of War in the Confederacy, is here with 
her son, whom she says she is anxious to place in college, 
and wishes to visit Lexington with that view. I have 
offered my escort and invited her to stay with us. I do 
not know whether she will go with me. The girls will 
have to prepare my room for some of the visitors, and put 
me anywhere. I can be very comfortable in the library. 
Tell the little creatures they must work like beavers and 
get a supply of eggs and chickens. Recollect there is 
flour at Leyburn's mill when you want it. Thank Mil- 
dred for her letter. Remember me to all, and believe me, 
"Always yours affectionately, 

R. E. Lee. 

"Mrs. M. C. Lee. 

" P. S. — I send you an order for the horses. Tell Henry 
to take with him a bridle and halter. You must write for 
the cow if you want her. R. E. Lee." 

Mr. Andrew Cameron owned a fine farm near Lexing- 
ton, and kindly took care of my father's horses when he 
was away in the summer ; also at different times supplied 
him with a cow and took care of any calf, if there happened 
to be one, till it was of service. My father constantly 
rode out to see him, and enjoyed talking farming as they 
rode together over his fields. His delight in every aspect 
of Nature was real and ever present. These letters show, 
too, his care and consideration for animals. 

His letter to his daughter Agnes is in lighter vein. His 
playful moods, so usual with his children, never entirely 
left him. 


" Hot Springs, Bath County, Virginia, 
" August 23, 1870. 
" My Dear Agnes: I have received both of your letters, 
the last the 1 7 th, and thank you for them as well as for 
your care of my room and clothes. The former I under- 
stand is used for a multiplicity of purposes, and the cats 
and kittens have the full run of my establishment. Guard 
me against ' Miss Selden,' * I pray you. I am sorry that 
you are not with me, as it possibly may have benefited 
your neuralgia. But if Miss Belle is with you, I am sure 
she will be of greater service, and tell her she must remain 
till I come, that she may cure me. That you may have 
some other inducements than your flowers and weeds to 
take you out of doors, I will write to your mother to send 
for the horses as soon as she can make arrangements to 
have them cared for, and then you and Mildred and Miss 
Belle, the one on Traveller, the other on Lucy, can scour 
the country and keep us in eggs and chickens. I am 
sorry for the death of our good cow, but glad that she is 
out of misery. ... I do not think any of your 
friends are here. Mr. Washington has been vibrating 
between this place and the Healing, but does not seem to 
be well. Miss Alman, from Salem, Massachusetts, whom 
you may recollect as having been at the White last sum- 
mer, is here with her father and mother. Miss Mollie 
Jourdan left to-day, and Colonel Robert Preston arrived. 
The Chestnuts and Le Verts are still here. I hope that 
you are well and that all is well with you. When Custis 
comes, ask him to see to the horses and the cow and that 
they are gently treated and properly fed. I know nothing 
of Henry's capacity in that way. I hope to be home next 
week and am very anxious to get back. 

"Your father, 

"R. E. Lee." 

* Mildred's kitten. 


Last Days 

letter to his wife — to mr. tagart — obituary notice 
in " personal reminiscences of general robert e. 
lee" — mrs. lee's account of his death 

The following is the last letter that I can find written 
by my father to my mother. He was back in Lexington 
early in September, and was never separated from her 
again while he lived: 

"Hot Springs, August 27, 1870. 
"My Dear Mary: I have received your letter of the 
2 2d. I should remain here a week longer if time per- 
mitted, as I have felt in the last few days better than I 
have yet, but I am obliged to be in Staunton on the 30th, 
and therefore must leave Monday, 29th. I should not 
have time to return here. The college opens on Septem- 
ber 15th, and I wish to see that all things are prepared. 
Possibly the little improvement now felt will continue. 
If not, I shall have to bear my malady. I am truly sorry 
to hear of Edwin Lee's death.* He was a true man, and, 
if health had permitted, would have been an ornament 
as well as a benefit to his race. He certainly was a great 

* Colonel Edwin Grey Lee was a near cousin. He had distinguished 
himself in the late war. At its commencement he had volunteered, 
and was made a 2d lieutenant in the Second Virginia regiment, 
"Stonewall Brigade." From that rank he quickly rose to be lieutenant 
colonel of the 33d Virginia, in the same brigade. In 1862 his health, 
which was very feeble, compelled him to resign, but after a short 
time he again entered the service, though he never became strong 
enough to serve actively in the field. General Lee's opinion of his 
abilities was very high. 



credit to the name. Give my sincere sympathy to his 
wife and family. You have never mentioned anything 
of Dr. Grahame. I have heard that he was in a critical 
condition. I saw Colonels Allan and Johnston. They 
only stayed a day, and went on to the White. I have 
heard of them on their return, and presume they will 
reach Lexington to-morrow. Mr. George Taylor, who 
has been a month at the White, arrived here to-day. 
Both he and his wife are well. The company is thinning, 
though arrivals occur daily. Mr. Middleton and his 
daughter and son, from Washington, whom you may recol- 
lect, also came. But I hope to see you so soon that I will 
defer my narrative. I am glad that Mary is enjoying her- 
self and that Rob is so happy. May both long continue 
so. I will endeavour to get the muslin, but fear I shall 
not succeed. I trust I may not be detained in Staunton 
more than a day or two. In that event, you may expect 
me Thursday, September ist, but I cannot say as to time. 
I hope that I shall find you all well. Give my love to 
Agnes and Mildred, and Custis, if he has arrived. Colonel 
Turner is very well. Tell his wife that he was exhibited 
to-day at the Healing as a specimen of the health of the 
Hot. In my last I gave you my views about the servants 

and sent you a check for , which I hope that you have 

received. Most truly and affectionately, 

"R. E. Lee." 

His last letter was written on the morning of the day 
he was taken ill, September 28th. It was to Mr. Tagart, 
of Baltimore, at whose home he had stayed the previous 
summer. Its tone was cheerful and hopeful, and he 
wrote that he was much better and stronger. 

"Lexington, Virginia, September 28, 1870. 

" My Dear Mr. Tagart: Your note of the 26th reached 

me this morning, and see how easy it is 'to inveigle me 

into a correspondence. ' In fact, when a man desires 

to do a thing, or when a thing gives a man pleasure, he 


requires but small provocation to induce him to do it. 
Now I wanted to hear how you and Mrs. Tagart were, 
what you were doing, and how you had passed the 
summer, and I desired to tell you so. That is the reason 
I write. In answer to your question, I reply that I am 
much better. I do not know whether it is owing to 
having seen you and Doctor Buckler last summer, or to 
my visit to the Hot Springs. Perhaps both. But my 
pains are less, and my strength greater. In fact, I 
suppose I am as well as I shall be. I am still following 

Doctor B 's directions, and in time I may improve 

still more. I expect to have to visit Baltimore this fall, 
in relation to the Valley Railroad, and in that event I 
hope to see you, if you will permit me. I am glad to 

hear that you spent a pleasant summer. Colonel 

and I would have had a more agreeable one had you been 
with us at the Hot, and as every place agrees so well with 
Mrs. Tagart, I think she could have enjoyed as good 
health there as at Saratoga, and we should have done 
better. Give my sincere regards to Mrs. Tagart, and 

remember me to all friends, particularly Mr. . Tell 

his brother is well and handsome, and I hope that 

he will study, or his sweethearts in Baltimore will not 

pine for him long. Captain is well and busy, and 

joins in my remembrances. Mrs. Lee and my daughters 
unite with me in messages to you and Mrs. Tagart, and 
I am most truly yours, R. E. Lee. 

"S. H. Tagart, Esq." 

When my brother Fitzhugh and I reached Lexington, 
my father was no more. He died the morning of our 
arrival — October 12th. He had apparently improved 
after his first attack, and the summoning of my brother 
and myself had been put off from day to day. After 
we did start we were delayed by the floods, which at that 
time prevailed over the State. Of his last illness and 
death I have heard from my family. 


The best account of those last days was written by 
Colonel William Preston Johnston for the "Personal 
Reminiscences of General Robert E. Lee," by the Rev. 
J. W. Jones, published in 1874. Colonel Johnston was 
an intimate friend of the General and a distinguished 
member of the faculty of his college. He was also one of 
the watchers by his dying bedside. I, therefore, give it 
in full: 

"The death of General Lee was not due to any sudden 
cause, but was the result of agencies dating as far back 
as 1863. In the trying campaign of that year he con- 
tracted a severe sore throat, that resulted in rheumatic 
inflammation of the sac inclosing the heart. There is no 
doubt that after this sickness his health was more or 
less impaired; and although he complained little, yet 
rapid exercise on foot or on horseback produced pain and 
difficulty of breathing. In October, 1869, he was again 
attacked by inflammation of the heart-sac, accompanied 
by muscular rheumatism of the back, right side, and 
arms. The action of the heart was weakened by this 
attack; the flush upon the face was deepened, the rheu- 
matism increased, and he was troubled with weariness 
and depression. 

"In March, 1870, General Lee, yielding to the solicita- 
tions of friends and medical advisers, made a six-weeks' 
visit to Georgia and Florida. He returned greatly 
benefited by the influence of the genial climate, the 
society of friends in those States, and the demonstrations 
of respect and affection of the people of the South; 
his physical condition, however, was not greatly im- 
proved. During this winter and spring he had said to 
his son, General Custis Lee, that his attack was mortal; 
and had virtually expressed the same belief to other 
trusted friends. And now, with that delicacy that 
pervaded all his actions, he seriously considered the 
question of resigning the presidency of Washington 


Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Va. 


College, ' fearful that he might not be equal to his duties.' 
After listening, however, to the affectionate remonstrances 
of the faculty and board of trustees, who well knew the 
value of his wisdom in the supervision of the college and 
the power of his mere presence and example upon the 
students, he resumed his labours with the resolution to 
remain at his post and carry forward the great work he 
had so auspiciously begun. 

" During the summer he spent some weeks at the 
Hot Springs of Virginia, using the baths, and came home 
seemingly better in health and spirits. He entered upon 
the duties of the opening collegiate year in September 
with that quiet zeal and noiseless energy that marked 
all his actions, and an unusual elation was felt by those 
about him at the increased prospect that long years of 
usefulness and honour would yet be added to his glorious 

"Wednesday, September 28, 1870, found General Lee 
at the post of duty. In the morning he was fully occupied 
with the correspondence and other tasks incident to his 
office of president of Washington College, and he de- 
clined offers of assistance from members of the faculty, 
of whose services he sometimes availed himself. After 
dinner, at four o'clock, he attended a vestry-meeting of 
Grace (Episcopal) church. The afternoon was chilly and 
wet, and a steady rain had set in, which did not cease 
until it resulted in a great flood, the most memorable and 
destructive in this region for a hundred years. The 
church w T as rather cold and damp, and General Lee, 
during the meeting, sat in a pew with his military cape 
cast loosely about him. In a conversation that occupied 
the brief space preceding the call to order, he took part, 
and told with marked cheerfulness of manner and kindli- 
ness of tone some pleasant anecdotes of Bishop Meade 
and Chief- Justice Marshall. The meeting was protracted 
until after seven o'clock by a discussion touching the 
rebuilding of the church edifice and the increase of the 
rector's salary. General Lee acted as chairman, and, 


after hearing all that was said, gave his own opinion, as 
was his wont, briefly and without argument. He closed 
the meeting with a characteristic act. The amount 
required for the minister's salary still lacked a sum much 
greater than General Lee's proportion of the subscription, 
in view of his frequent and generous contributions to 
the church and other charities, but just before the ad- 
journment, when the treasurer announced the amount 
of the deficit still remaining, General Lee said in a low 
tone, 'I will give that sum.' He seemed tired toward 
the close of the meeting, and, as was afterward remarked, 
showed an unusual flush, but at the time no apprehensions 
were felt. 

"General Lee returned to his house, and, finding his 
family waiting tea for him, took his place at the table, 
standing to say grace. The effort was vain; the lips 
could not utter the prayer of the heart. Finding himself 
unable to speak, he took his seat quietly and without 
agitation. His face seemed to some of the anxious 
group about him to wear a look of sublime resignation, 
and to evince a full knowledge that the hour had come 
when all the cares and anxieties of his crowded life were 
at an end. His physicians, Doctors H. S. Barton and 
R. L. Madison, arrived promptly, applied the usual 
remedies, and placed him upon the couch from which he 
was to rise no more. 

"To him henceforth the things of this world were 
as nothing, and he bowed with resignation to the com- 
mand of the Master he had followed so long with reverence. 
The symptoms of his attack resembled concussion of 
the brain, without the attendant swoon. There was 
marked debility, a slightly impaired consciousness, and 
a tendency to doze ; but no paralysis of motion or sensa- 
tion, and no evidence of suffering or inflammation of the 
brain. His physicians treated the case as one of venous 
congestion, and with apparently favourable results. 
Yet, despite these propitious auguries drawn from his 
physical symptoms, in view of the great mental strain he 


had undergone, the gravest fears were felt that the attack 
was mortal. He took without objection the medicines 
and diet prescribed, and was strong enough to turn in 
bed without aid, and to sit up to take nourishment. 
During the earlier days of his illness, though inclined to 
doze, he was easily aroused, was quite conscious and 
observant, evidently understood whatever was said to 
him, and answered questions briefly but intelligently; 
he was, however, averse to much speaking, generally 
using monosyllables, as had always been his habit when 

"When first attacked, he said to those who were 
removing his clothes, pointing at the same time to his 
rheumatic shoulder, 'You hurt my arm.' Although he 
seemed to be gradually improving until October 10th, he 
apparently knew from the first that the appointed hour 
had come when he must enter those dark gates that, 
closing, open no more to earth. In the words of his 
physician, 'he neither expected nor desired to recover.' 
When General Custis Lee made some allusion to his 
recovery, he shook his head and pointed upward. On 
the Monday morning before his death, Doctor Madison, 
finding him looking better, tried to cheer him. 'How 
do you feel to-day, General?' General Lee replied 
slowly and distinctly: 'I feel better.' The doctor then 
said : ' You must make haste and get well ; Traveller has 
been standing so long in the stable that he needs exercise.' 
The General made no reply, but slowly shook his head 
and closed his eyes. Several times during his illness he 
put aside his medicine, saying, 'It is of no use,' but 
yielded patiently to the wishes of his physicians or 
children, as if the slackened chords of being still responded 
to the touch of duty or affection. 

"On October 10th, during the afternoon, his pulse 
became feeble and rapid, and his breathing hurried, with 
other evidences of great exhaustion. About midnight he 
was seized with a shivering from extreme debility, and 
Doctor Barton felt obliged to announce the danger to 


the family. On October nth, he was evidently sinking; 
his respiration was hurried, his pulse feeble and rapid. 
Though less observant, he still recognised whoever 
approached him, but refused to take anything unless 
prescribed by his physicians. It now became certain 
that the case was hopeless. His decline was rapid, yet 
gentle; and soon after nine o'clock, on the morning of 
October 12th, he closed his eyes, and his soul passed 
peacefully from earth. 

" General Lee's physicians attributed his death in 
great measure to moral causes. The strain of his cam- 
paigns, the bitterness of defeat aggravated by the bad 
faith and insolence of the victor, sympathy with the 
subsequent sufferings of the Southern people, and the 
effort at calmness under these accumulated sorrows, 
seemed the sufficient and the real causes that slowly but 
steadily undermined his health and led to his death. 
Yet to those who saw his composure under the greater 
and lesser trials of life, and his justice and forbearance with 
the most unjust and uncharitable, it seemed scarcely 
credible that his serene soul was shaken by the evil that 
raged around him. 

"General Lee's closing hours were consonant with 
his noble and disciplined life. Never was more beautifully 
displayed how a long and severe education of mind and 
character enables the soul to pass with equal step 
through this supreme ordeal; never did the habits and 
qualities of a lifetime, solemnly gathered into a few last 
sad hours, more grandly maintain themselves amid the 
gloom and shadow of approaching death. The reticence, 
the self-contained composure, the obedience to proper 
authority, the magnanimity, and the Christian meekness, 
that marked all his actions, still preserved their sway, in 
spite of the inroads of disease and the creeping lethargy 
that weighed down his faculties. 

" As the old hero lay in the darkened room, or with the 
lamp and hearth-fire casting shadows upon his calm, 
noble front, all the massive grandeur of his form, and face, 


and brow remained ; and death seemed to lose its terrors, 
and to borrow a grace and dignity in sublime keeping 
with the life that was ebbing away. The great mind 
sank to its last repose, almost with the equal poise of 
health. The few broken utterances that evinced at times 
a wandering intellect were spoken under the influence of 
the remedies administered; but as long as consciousness 
lasted there was evidence that all the high, controlling 
influences of his whole life still ruled; and even when 
stupor was laying its cold hand on the intellectual per- 
ceptions, the moral nature, with its complete orb of 
duties and affections, still asserted itself. A southern 
poet has celebrated in song those last significant words, 
' Strike the tent' : and a thousand voices were raised to 
give meaning to the uncertain sound, when the dying 
man said, with emphasis, 'Tell Hill he must come up!' 
These sentences serve to show most touchingly through 
what fields the imagination was passing; but generally 
his words, though few, were coherent ; but for the most 
part, indeed, his silence was unbroken. 

"This self-contained reticence had an awful grandeur, 
in solemn accord with a life that needed no defense. 
Deeds which required no justification must speak for 
him. His voiceless lips, like the shut gates of some majes- 
tic temple, were closed, not for concealment, but because 
that within was holy. Could the eye of the mourning 
watcher have pierced the gloom that gathered about the 
recesses of that great soul it would have perceived a 
presence there full of an ineffable glory. Leaning trust- 
fully upon the all-sustaining Arm, the man whose stature, 
measured by mortal standards, seemed so great, passed 
from this world of shadows to the realities of the here- 
after. " 

A letter from my mother to a dear friend tells the 
same sad story: 

" . . . My husband came in. We had been waiting 
tea for him, and I remarked : ' You have kept us waiting 


a long time. Where have you been ? ' He did not reply, 
but stood up as if to say grace. Yet no word proceeded 
from his lips, and he sat down in his chair perfectly 
upright and with a sublime air of resignation on his 
countenance, and did not attempt to a reply to our 
inquiries. That look was never to be forgotten, and 
I have no doubt he felt that his hour had come ; for though 
he submitted to the doctors, who were immediately 
summoned, and who had not even reached their homes 
from the same vestry-meeting, yet his whole demeanour 
during his illness showed one who had taken leave of earth. 
He never smiled, and rarely attempted to speak, except 
in his dreams, and then he wandered to those dreadful 
battle-fields. Once, when Agnes urged him to take some 
medicine, which he always did with reluctance, he looked 
at her and said, 'It is no use.' But afterward he took 
it. When he became so much better the doctor said, 
* You must soon get out and ride your favorite gray ! ' 
He shook his head most emphatically and looked upward. 
He slept a great deal, but knew us all, greeted us with a 
kindly pressure of the hand, and loved to have us around 
him. For the last forty-eight hours he seemed quite 
insensible of our presence. He breathed more heavily, 
and at last sank to rest with one deep-drawn sigh. And 
oh, what a glorious rest was in store for him !" 



Abbeville, 112 

Ability, 206, 281 

Abingdon, 409 

Abolitionists, 231 

Academy, 179 

Accusations, 220 

Acquia Creek, 72, 93, 350, 367 

Address, 182, 301 

Adjutant General, C. S. A., 420 

Administration, 181 

Admiration, 276, 289, 332 

Advice, 71, 162, 164, 194, 309 

Adviser, 53 

Affection, 291, 295, 303, 348, 

39 2 
"Ajax" (horse), 84 
Alabama, 321 
Albemarle County, 176 
Albert, Miss, 358, 359 
Alexander, 316 

Alexander, Gen. E. P., 36, 392 
Alexandria, 108, 114, 187, 189, 

242, 334, 335, 34i, 344, 345» 

348, 349, 350, 351, 352, 356, 

361, 387, 413, 414, 417, 418. 

Alexandria Academy, 415 

Alexandria & Orange R.R., no 

Allan, Colonel, 291, 360, 403, 428, 

43 2 
Alleghany Mountains, 38, 52 
Allan, Wm., 251, 329, 330 
Alman, Miss, 430 
Alston, Mr., 36 
Alston, Mrs., 392 
Alum Springs, 185, 240 
Ambulance, 78 
Amelia Court House, 152 
Amelia Island, 56, 395 
America, 227, 371 
Americans, 232, 338 
Ammunition, 63, 89, 123 
Amnesty, 163, 164, 181 
Amusements, 121, 253 
Anderson, Col. Archer, 148 
Anderson, General, 72 
Anderson, Messrs, 381 
Anderson, Mrs. J. R., 291 
Andersons, The, 382, 395 

Anderson ville, 224, 231 

"Annie" (Mrs. Chapman Leigh), 

Ann Smith Academy, 256 

Apparatus, 180 

Apples, 134, 141 

Appointment, 36, 180 

Appomattox, 83, 148, 150, 156, 
166, 409 

Architect, 341 

Arithmetic, 14 

Arkansas, 68, 355 

Arlington, 3, 6, 7, 8, 11, 14, 19, 
20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 32, 50, 
81, 90, 187, 190, 203, 206, 222, 
223, 242, 336, 337, 350, 354, 
368, 396, 405, 414 

Arlington Mills, 416 

Armistead, Miss, 256 

Armory, United States, 22 

Arms, 46 

Army, 51, 89, 93, 95, 215, 236 

Army of Northern Virginia, 73, 

75- 77, 9i, 93, 95, io 5> Io6 » "o, 
115, 123, 125, 126, 128, 129, 
148, 149, 150, 153, 154, 155, 164, 
165, 166, 218, 250, 259, 265, 272, 


Army of Northern Virginia, Asso- 
ciation of, 138 

Army of the Potomac, 121, 122, 
123, 126, 128, 130, 261 

Army of the Potomac, History 
of, 150 

Arnica, 238 

Article, 281 

Arnold, Dr., 399 

Artillery, 70, 76, 85, 96, 118, 137, 
146, 150 

Ascension Day Services, 351 

"Ashby," 247, 252 

Asher, Mrs., 422 

Association of the Army of North- 
ern Virginia, 138 

Atkinson, Bishop, 31, 401 

Atkinson, Mrs., 114 

Atkinson, Nelson, 114 

Atlantic, 322, 370, 419 




"Audley," 42, 43 

Augusta, 390, 392 

Augusta Agricultural Fair, 329 

Authorities, 165, 182, 301 

Autograph, 198 

"Avenel," 41, 270, 273 

Babies, 186, 308 

Baby-talk, 167 

Baccalaureate sermon, 396 

Bachelor, 309 

Bacon, 59 

Bacon & Lewis, 389 

Baggage, 70 

Bailey, Prof., 13 

Baker, Mr., 381 

Baker, Mrs., 349 

Bakers, The, 209 

Ball, 120, 314, 324, 366 

Baltimore, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 22, 25, 
84, 175, 187, 189, 190, 197, 202, 
203, 211, 224, 243, 249, 252, 
253, 254, 256, 257, 275, 286, 
2 9°, 293, 304, 307, 309, 312, 
321, 340, 344, 345, 346, 347, 
348, 349. 35 1 . 37 1 . 4oo, 401, 
406, 408, 412, 414, 419, 422, 
428, 432, 433 

Baltimore American, 224 

Baltimore & Ohio R.R., 347 

"Baltimore Row," 274 

Bands, 107, 394 

Banister, Miss, 304 

Banks, General, 72, 73 

Baptist Church, 267 

Bard, 212, 214 

Barksdale, Mrs., 418 

Barracks, 13 

Bartlett, General, 136 

Barton, Dr., 320, 345, 389, 395, 

399. 437 
Barton, Major, 355 
Baths, 50, 188, 208, 239, 240, 

242, 243, 327, 329, 361, 363, 

3 6 8, 423 
Bath, Alum, 422 
Bath County, 42, 318 
Battery, 34, 35, 63, 70, 73, 74, 78, 

i3S» 201 
Battle, 93, 219, 228, 233, 290 
Battlefields, 440 
Battleflags, 107 
Battle of the Crater, 135 
Bayard, 215 
Beard, 55 
Beauregard, General, 36, 135, 145, 

Beaux, 285 

Beaverdam Falls, 304 

Bedford City, 209, 270 

Bedford County^ 269 

Beef, 41 

"Belmead," 199 

Bennet, Mr., 400, 405 

Bennet, Mary, 400 

"Bertus" (R. E. Lee, Jr.), 177, 

^ 3 ? 4 ; 3 ?7 

Berkeley County, 250 

Berkeleys, The, 41 

Berryville, 102 

Beverly, 39 

Bible, 246 

Birely, Mr., 297 

Birthplace, 292 

Blair, Colonel, 193 

Blair, Francis Preston, 27 

Blanket, 41, 68, 93, 103, 104, 111, 

Blessings, 58 

Blockade, 104 

Blockaders, 65 

Bluecoats, 99 

Bluegrass, 39 

Blue Ridge, 185, 269 

Boarding-school, 20 

Board of Trustees, 172, 179, 181, 
183, 185, 186, 208, 336, 435 

Boggs, Misses, 393 

Boiling, Miss Mary Tabb, 283, 

Boiling, G. W., 284, 289, 293 

Boiling, Mr. and Mrs., 379 

"Bonaventure," 394 

Books, 335, 336, 337 

Booksellers, 36 

Boston, 369 

Bouquets, 393 

Bower," "The, 250 

Bowie, Mr., 426 

Boydton, 140 

Bragg, General, 146 

Branch Bros., 393 

Branch, Melville, 393 

Branch, Mrs. Jas. R., 133 

Branch, Mrs. Thos., 133 

Brander, Mrs., 291 

"Brandon," 288, 290, 292, 302, 
377. 398, 401, 402, 403, 404 

Brandy Station, 95, 115, 200 

Brantley, Rev. Mr. and daugh- 
ter, 396 

Braxton, Corbin, 167 

Braxton, Mrs. Mary, 169 

Braxtons, The, 178 

Bravery, 218 

Bread, 41, 109, 133 



Breckenridge, Gen. John C, 340 
"Bremo." 139, 172, 178, 186, 192, 

193, 195, 196, 202, 206, 411, 

Bricks, 340, 342 
Bride, no, 285 287, 288, 289, 

Brigade, 81, 87, 104, 119, 120, 201 
Brigadier, 34 
Brigand, 23 
Bristoe, no 
Broaddus, Dr., 425 
Broad Run, no 
Brockenborough Cottage, 321 
Brockenborough, Judge John W., 

172, 179 
"Brook Hill," 169, 382, 389 
Brooks, Captain, 426 
Broughton Street, 395 
Brown, Mrs., 23 
Brown, Mr., 382, 422 
Brown, Major Campbell, 22 
Brown, John, 22 
Brown's, John, Raid, 21 
"Brown Roan," 84 
Brownlow, Miss, 392 
Brown University, 13 
Brunswick, 54, 398 
Bryan (steward), 85, 132, 143 
Buchanan, 273, 347 
Buckler, Dr. Thos. H., 412, 413, 

419. 425, 433 
Buffalo, 246 
Buffalo Gap, 39 
Buford, Captain, 270, 273 
Buildings, 184, 235, 262 
Bull Run, no 
Bunker Hill, 108 
Burke ville, 145 
Burnside, General, 85, 86, 87 
Burr, Chauncey E., 225 
Burwell, Miss, 358, 359 
Burwell, Mr., 177 
Burwell, Robert, 393 
Burwells, The, 270, 273 
Business, 55, 284 
Butler, General, 117, 128 
Butler, Lawrence, 333, 343 
Butter, 40, 114 
Buttermilk, 109, 134 

Cabell, Mrs., 238 
Cabell, Dr. and Mrs., 422 
Cabell, Dr., 426 

Cadet, 12, 13, 15, 17, 245, 253, 
255, 268, 298, 308, 315, 324, 

Caesar, 215, 216, 316 

Caisson, 73 

California, 36 

Callahan's, 274 

Calvert, Miss (Mrs. Richard 

Stuart), 356 
Cameron, Andrew, 306, 428, 

Cameron, Dr., 193 
Cameron, Miss Rose, 193 
Cameron, Simon, 25, 27, 28 
Camp, 121, 206 
Campaign, 38, 48, 51, 52, 78, 83, 

102, 122, 123, 129, 172, 173, 

218, 219, 221, 259, 434 
Campbell, John Lyle, 226 
Campbell, Mr., 240 
Campbell, Miss, 381 
Campbell, Miss Lucy, 383 
Canada, 309 
Canal, 136, 171, 173, 190, 201, 

Cape Charles, 322 
Capertons, The, 277 
Capitol Square, 216 
Capitulation, 150 
Capon, 418 
Cappahoosic, 408 
Capitalists, 236 
Captains, 316 
Captives, 59 
Captivity, 100, 117 
Carolinas, 50, 8^, 145, 149, 227 
Carpet, 187, 201, 203, 336. 
Carriage, 203 
Carter, Annette, 307 
Carter, Chas., 424 
Carter, Chas. Henry, 307, 349 
Carter, Col. Thos. H., 166, 167, 

Carter, Ella, 424, 427 
Carter, Mrs., 168 
Carter, Mrs. Admiral, 37 
Carter, Mr., 427 
Carter, Mildred, 307, 424 
Carter, Warrenton, 402 
Carter, Warrington, 346 
Carter, William, 114 
Carters, The, 178 
Cartersville, 173, 174, 175, 176, 

177, 221 
Case, 174 
Caskie, Mr., 90 

Caskie, Mrs., 287, 290, 367, 422 
Caskie, Mr. and Mrs., 321 
Catechism, 67 
Cats, 249 
Cause, 169, 171, 212, 231 



Cavalcade, 107 

Cavalry, 50, 84, 93, 96, 99, 100, 

109, no, 114, 115, 118, 124, 

137, 140, 146, 147, 150, 155, 

156, 259 
Cavalry, Second, 19 
Cavalry, Chief of, 125 
Cavalryman, 98 
Cazenove, Harriott, 355 
"Cedar Grove," 57, 355, 356, 368 
Cedar Mountain, 75 
Celebration, 383 
Celibacy, 278 

Cemetery, 61, 390, 394, 398 
Central Railroad, 41 
Chambliss, Col. John R., 119 
Chanal, General de, 154 
Chancellors ville, 83, 93, 230, 233 
Change of base, 74 
"Chantilly," in 
Chapel, 262, 294, 331, 336 
Chapultepec, 5 
Character, 8, 212, 301, 438 
Charger, 184 
Charles Street, 347 
Charleston, 54, 62, 398, 400, 403 
Charlotte (N. C), 392 
Charlottesville, 39, 61, 120, 121, 

Chase, Judge, 287, 306 
"Chatham," 18, 57 
Cheat Mountain, 39, 44, 45, 46, 

47. 48 
"Chericoke," 167 
Cherrystone, 323, 328 
Chesapeake & Ohio R.R., 118, 

120, 203, 346 
Chestnuts, The, 430 
Chickahominy, 83 
Chief Justice Marshall, 165 
Chief of Cavalry, 125 
Childe, Edward Lee, 211, 214, 

3 2 7. 3 28 
Childe, Edward, and Blanche, 

3 6 9> 37°. 37i. 3 8 3> 425 
Children, 86, 167, 185, 243, 271, 

372, 416 
Chills, 177, 194, 195, 235 
Chivalry, 215 
Chouteau, Pierre, 239 
Christian Commission, 137 
Christianity, 101 
Christmas 58, 60, 87, 251, 252, 

258, 292, 294, 324, 332, 333, 

„ 377 

Christmas Day, 88 
Christ's Church, 187 
Church, 136, 172, 284 

Church-going, 12 

Cincinnati, 221 

Circus, 275 

Citizen, 27, 86, 155, 162, 163, 183 

Civil Engineering, 187 

Civilian, 245, 246 

Civil War, 80, 180 

Clarke County, 42, 102, 168, 393 

Clarke's Mountain, no 

Classes, 181, 329 

Clay Street, 112 

Clayton, Miss, 393 

Clothes, 50, 59, 113 

Clothing, 103, 104, in, 118, 123, 

"Clydale," 55, 57 

Coast, 54, 56 

Cobb's Island, 323 

Cocke, Edward, 426 

Cocke, Dr. Chas., 194 

Cocke, Captain Edmund Ran- 
dolph, 171, 185 

Cocke, Mrs. E. R., 171, 184, 185 

Cocke, Preston, 185, 209 

Cocke, Thos., 174 

Cocke, Mrs., 174, 176, 195, 196, 
199, 201, 203 

Cocke, Mrs. Thos., 186 

Cocke, Miss Mary, 177 

Cocke, General, 238 

Cockes, The, 176 

Cockspur Island, 62 

Cold Harbour, 73, 76, 8^, 128 

Cole, Colonel, 397, 398, 421 

Cole, Rev. Mr., 136 

Coleman, Mrs., 321 

Colfax, Mr., 223 

College, 69, 70, 160, 172, 179, 187, 
188, 206, 210, 211, 234, 240, 
243, 254, 258, 260, 262, 267, 
280, 281, 283, 286, 294, 295, 
296, 298, 301, 304, 313, 314, 
3 2 4, 3 2 S» 33 1 , 332, 335. 347. 
37o» 3%3> 3 8 4, 396, 404, 412, 
424, 429, 43 1 . 434, 435 

College Hotel, 383 

Colonelcy, 136 

Colours, 136 

Colquit, General, 240 

Columbia, 392 

Combat, 89 

Commandant, 324 

Commander-in-Chief, 77, 144 

Commander-in-Chief of C. S. A., 

Commanders, 71 

Command of United States Army 
offered to Col. Robert E. Lee, 27 



Commencement, 267, 314, 352, 

353. 3 6 ° 
Commerce, School of, 369 
Commissary Department (C. S. 

A.), 416 
Commission, 26, 27 
Commissioner, 299 
Committee, 180, 390 
Committee on Education, 208 
Committee on Public Buildings, 

Compton, Mr., 327 
Comrades, 176 
Concert, 366, 367, 368 
Conduct, 27 
Confederacy, 63, 70, 71, 103, 130, 

134, 422, 429 
Confederate, 20, 129, 135, 165, 

231, 232, 233, 388 
Confederate Army, 34, 73, 165, 

234, 246 
Confederate Cavalry, 124 
Confederate Commissary Depart- 
ment, 416 
Confederate Government, 34, 35, • 

Confederate Gray, 83 
Confederate Navy, 156, 158 
Confederate Service, 416 
Confederate Soldiers, 160 
Confederate States, 29, 35, 36, 

66, 75, 105, 144 
Confederate States ex-Secretary 

of War, 340 
"Confeds.," 315, 369 
Congress, 222, 337, 338, 396, 

Conqueror, 155 
Conquest, 55 
Consideration, 184 
Continent, 228 
Controversy, 220, 223, 225 
Convention, Episcopal, 31 
Convention, Virginia, 28, 351 
Convention of the Teachers of 

Virginia, 360 
Conversation, 229, 248, 315, 380, 

Conversazione, 380 
Cook, Cadet, 381 
Cooke, Gen. St. George, 379 
Cookery, 205 
Cooper, General, 291, 350, 414, 

Cooper, Hon. Mr., 244, 245 
Cooper, Sam, 22 
Cooper, Miss Jennie, 291, 361 
Cooper, Mrs., 361 

Coosawhatchie, 54, 56, 60, 62, 63 
Corcoran, W. W., 274, 367, 368 
Corley, Colonel, 389, 390, 391, 

39 2 . 394 
Corn, 174, 176, 177, 191, 242, 311 
Corn and Flour Exchange, 347 
Corn-bread, 59 
Corn-meal, 40 
Corps, 15, 108, 136 
Corpus Christi College, 211 \ 
Correspondence, 31, 103, 105, \ 

188, 206, 219, 226, 313 J 

Cortinez, 23 
Cotton, 64 
Coulter, Judge, 57 
Council of War, 71 
Counsellor, 53 
Countermining, 135 
Country, 182 
Courier, 78 
Court, 287, 288, 309 
Court House, 99 
Court of Appeals, 236 
Covington, 38, 274, 320 
Cow, 273, 310, 326, 424, 426, 427, 

428, 429, 430 
Cox, General, 48 
Crater, Battle of, 135 
Critics, 316 

Crop, 161, 282, 284, 302, 328, 340 
Crow-scalps, 21 
Crutches, 196, 249, 311 
Culpeper, 95, 97, 100, 102 
Culpeper Camp, 108 
Culpeper Court House, 136 
Culture, 210 
Cumberland County, 171, 173, 

Cumberland Island, 60, 61, 397, 

Cunningham, Dr., 389 
Currency, Confederate, 170 
Curtains, 187, 202 
Custis, G. W. P., 20 
Custis, Mr., 89, 160, 223, 249, 

354, 3 68 
Custis, Mrs. George Washington, 

14, 18, 364 
Custis, Nellie, 333 
Custis, Washington, 18 
Cyrus, Miss Eliza, 308 

Daingerfield, John B., 351 
Daingerflelds, Tne, 277, 422 
Dallam, Edward, 253 
Dallam, Mr. 364 
Dana, Mr. 187. 
Dance, 2>^>Z 



Dandridge, Stephen, 250 

Danville, 250 

Danville & Southside R. R., 145 

Davis, President, 34, 35, 36, 52, 
53, 157, 165, 174, 220, 267, 272, 
287, 288, 304, 306, 307, 309, 

3 IO » 3 I2 > 3!3. 401 

Davis, Mrs. Jefferson, 223, 309 

Davis, Mr. and Mrs. George, 400, 

Davises, The, 403 

Death of Mr. Custis, 20 

Death of Mrs. Custis, 18 

Debate in United States Sen- 
ate, 27 

Debt, 192, 235, 257 

Deed, 90 

Defeat, 53, 75, 165, 438 

Deference, 350, 401 

" Derwent," 171, 174, 175, 191, 
192, 202 

Deserters, 135 

Despair, 121 

Despatch, 71 

Destitution, 91 

Devotion, 210, 218 

Devotion to Union, 26 

Dickens, Mr., 418 

Dignity, 405 

Disaster, 52, 64 

Discipline, 295 

Dissensions, 163 

Divine Services, 105 

Dixie, 36 

Dixon, Miss Mary, 308 

Dobbin, Mrs., 422, 424, 

Doctor, 176, 379, 384, 399, 404, 
427, 440 

Documents, 247 

Donation, 334, 336 

Dredges, 63, 66 

Dress, 253 

Dry Creek, 275 

Dubuque, 337 

Dudley, President of Richmond 
& York River R. R., 277 

Dungeness, 60, 61, 398 

Dunlop, Mrs., 291 

Dutch Gap, 136 

Duty, 35, 54, 205, 279 

Early, General, 127, 131, 132, 

148, 172, 220 
Earthworks, 73 
Eastern Shore, 243, 247, 255, 304, 

308, 312, 319 
" Eastern View," 33 
Easton, 247 

Eastville, 143, 323 

Echols, General John, 347 

Economy, 168, 282' 

Editors, 51 

Education, 160, 181, 183, 191, 
210, 211, 280 

Educational Association of Vir- 
ginia, 359 

Educational Society of Virginia, 

Election, 181, 360 

Elk River, 39 

Ellicott City, 304, 349 

Elliott, Bishop, 65 

Elliott, Mrs. 390, 395 

Elliotts, The, 240 

Ellis, Colonel, 195, 196, 203 

Emancipation, 231, 232 

Emerson, 215 

Emigration, 163 

Emperor of Mexico, 163 

Enders, Miss, 288 

Endowment, 180, 294 

Engineers, 19, 34, 154, 401 

England, 59, 84, 215, 231, 232, 

English, 232, 306 

Englishman, 227, 232 

Enlistment, 81 

Eoff, Captain, 197, 199 

Epaulets, 11 

Episcopal Church, 23, 135, 248, 
335, 368, 419 

Episcopal Convention, 313 

Episcopal Theological Seminary, 

334, 335 
Essex County, 355 
Estate, 20, 21, 89, 170, 171, 192, 

236, 3 22 , 323, 326, 327, 406, 

Etowa, 395 
Europe, 207, 215, 420 
Ewell, General, 72, 73, 415 
Ewell, Mrs., no 
Examination, 237, 254, 257, 301, 

3i3, 3i4, 352, 353, 358, 381, 

383, 412 
Example, 162, 165, 183 
Exchange, 231 
Exchange Hotel, 365 
Excursions, 175, 187 
Executor, 89, 236, 322 
Executive Mansion, 349 
Exercise, 13 
Expedition, 55 
Exposure, 140 
Eye-glasses, 258 



Faculty, 280, 295, 296, 300, 314, 
3i5, 33 1 * 335. 375» 3 8 5> 39 6 > 
434, 435 

Fairfax Court House, 32 

Fairfax, Dr. O., 401, 411 

Fairfax, Miss, 358, 359, 360, 401 

Family, 170 

Farm, 20, 21, 160, 165, 176, 205, 
235, 241, 266, 282, 344, 358 

Farmer, 161, 168, 278 

Fatigue, in 

Fauquier County, 32, 35, 41 

Federal Army, 93, 128, 160, 172, 

Federal generals, 416 
Federal officers, 159 
Federals, 52, 86, 233, 234 
Fernandina, 54,61 
Festivities, 333 

Fever, 177, 191, 278, 312, 313 
Field-battery, 38 
First Cavalry, 25 
Fitzhugh, Mrs. A. M., 32, 349, 

35°> 3 6l > 4i4 
Fitzhugh, Wm., 18, 350 
Fitzhughs, The, 57 
Five Forks, 147 
Fleet, 54, 55, 62 
Florida, 10, 52, 60, 61, 390, 394, 

395. 396, 39 8 > 434 
Floyd, General, 39, 48, 51 
Fluvanna, 176, 177 
Foley (sculptor), 216 
Forage, 118, 120, 130 
Fort Carroll, 10 
Fort Fisher, 144 
Fort Hamilton, 3, 6, 7 
Fort Jackson, 64 
Fort Lafayette, 57, 117 
Fort Mason, 24 

Fort Monroe, 22, 99, 109, 267 
Fort Moultrie, 62 
Fort Pulaski, 62, 63, 66 
Fort Stedman, 146 
Fort Wade, 416 
Fort Warren, 57 
Fortifications, 6, 10 
Furlough, 74, 137 
Furniture, 197, 199, 201, 202, 

203, 286, 335, 336, 337 
France, 383 
Franklin Institute, 382 
Franklin Street, 157 
Fredericksburg, 59, 72, 80, 82, 

83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 92, 230, 

26 4, 35 2 , 353. 354, 35 6 > 413 
Frederick City, 298 
Freedom, 90 

French, 425 

French language, 133 

French officer, 93, 154 

French soldier, 133 

Friends, 187, 247, 275, 292, 302 

Fry, Mr., 22, 288 

Galt, Miss Frances, 176, 194 

Garden, 56, 61, 310, 311 

Gardner, Mr., 393 

Garnett, Dr. C. S., 250 

Garnett, General, 36, 38 

Garrett, John W., 347 

Gauley River, 43 

Gazette, Alexandria, 361 

Generation, 210 

Genius, 149, 212 

Gentility, 253 

George, Mrs Sam ("Ella"), 349 

Georgetown Heights, 349 

Georgia, 50, 52, 60, 61, 83, 149, 

227, 434 
Germans, 306 
German Universities, 374 
Gestures, 315 
Gettysburg, 83, 97 101, 102, 103, 

115, 415 
Giles, Miss, 288 
Gilliam, Mr., 379 
Gilliams, The, 176 
Gilmer, General, 390, 393, 394 
Gilmer, Mrs., 390, 394 
Girls, 201 
Glenns, The, 308 
Gloucester, 355 
Gloucester County, 168, 407 
Gloves, 113, 141 
Goldsborough, Admiral Louis, 

Goldsborough, Geo. and Eleanor, 

240, 241, 247, 249, 252, 253, 

255, 323 
Goldsborough, John, 32 
Goldsborough, Mrs., 418 
Goldsboroughs, The, 304 
Good-bye, 153, 161 
Goodness, 212 
"Goodwood," 307, 308, 349, 413, 

414, 424 
Gordon, General John B., 146, 

147, 151, 152, 210, 376 
Gordon, Mrs. J. B., 377 
Gordon, Mr., 302 
Gordon, Mrs., 390 
Gordons, The, 395 
Gordons ville, 75 
Goshen, 203, 208, 274, 319, 320, 

346, 355. 3 6 3> 3 8 7> 4i8, 422 



Government of United States, 

Governor of Virginia, 46 

Grace Church Sewing Society, 302 

"Grace Darling," 5, 6, 11, 82 

Grace Episcopal Church, 352, 435 

Graduates, 281 

Grady, Captain, 256 

Grady, Mrs., 249, 256 

Grahame, Dr., 432 

Grandson, 60, 341 

Granite, 81 

Grant, General, 121, 122, 123, 
124, 127, 128, 129, 130, 136, 
144, 146, 147, 151, 152, 164, 
174, 175, 219, 261, 292, 334, 

Gratiot, Julia, 239 
Gratitude, 182, 283 
Grave, 81, 385 
Graves, Mr., 409 
Graves, W., 381 
Graveyard, 81, 350 
Greek, 314, 374 

Green, General Nathaniel, 60, 61 
Green, Lieutenant, 22 
Green, Mr., 189, 418 
Green, Mrs., 61 
Greenbrier County, 49 
Greenbrier River, 39 
Greenbrier White Sulphur 

Springs, 274 
Green Mountain, 176 
Greensboro, 156, 157, 161 
Greenville, 186 
Grubb & Williams, 333 
Gun, 21, 63, 64, 78, 79, 86 
Gunboats, 62, 64, 66 

Habersham, Mrs., 390 

Hagerstown, 101 

Hamilton's Crossing, 85 

"Hampton," 366 

Hampton, General Wade, 140, 

Hanover County, 97, 161 
Harding, Colonel, 360 
Hardships, 87, 103, 150, 231 
Harmony, 163, 165 
Harper's Ferry, 22, 23 
Harris, Mr., 239 
Harris, Professor, 316, 317 
Harrison, George, 401, 402, 404 
Harrison, Miss Belle, 186, 188, 

277, 328, 401, 403, 430 
Harrison, Miss Gulie, 402, 403 
Harrison, Miss Isabella Ritchie, 


Harrison, Mrs., 327, 401 
Harrison, Wm., 401, 403, 404 
"Harrison Cottage," 274 
Harrison's Landing, 74 
Harrisons, The, 321, 327, 329, 

Harvest, 278, 302, 311 
Haskell, Colonel Alexander, 392 
Hatcher's Run, 83 
Havana, 220 
Haversacks, 210 

Haxall, Miss Charlotte, 313, 424 
Haxall, Misses, 288 
Haxalls, The, 277 
Hays Creek Valley, 186 
Headquarters, 82 
Healing Springs, 278, 279, 313, 

321, 425, 426, 430, 432 
Health, 137, 140, 239, 281, 302, 

384, 397, 420, 427 
Heart, 182 
Heath, Mrs., 422 
Hector, 212 

Henderson, Captain, 360 
Heninberger, Miss Ella, 381, 383 
Henry County, 250 
Herald, New York, 351 
Herbert, General, 68 
Hero, 212, 332, 438 
Heth, Mrs., no 
"Hickory Hill," 97, 98, 99, 100, 

101, 161, 287, 290, 292, 302 
Hill, B. H„ 377 
Hill, General A. P., 106, 107, 127, 

i3 6 < 379. 439 
Hill, Jimmy, 36 
Historical Society of Virginia, 


History, 102, 219, 221, 246 

History of the Army of the Po- 
tomac, 150 

Hodgson, Mr., 390 

Hoke, General, 2>ZZ 

Holidays, 20 

Hollanders, 306 

Hollywood, 361 

Home, 244 

Home Journal, 405 

Homer, 213 

Homer's Iliad, translation of, 211, 

Honour, 182 

Hooker, General, 92, 93, 95 

Hope, Mr., 391 

Hopkins, Captain, 250 

Horse Artillery, 201 

Horses, 74, 118, 157, 161 

Hospitality, 167, 184 



Hospitals, 134 

Hostage, 117 

Hostilities, 163, 269 

Hot Springs, 42, 44, 46, 48, 49, 
53, 278, 279, 313, 318, 319, 320, 
321, 322, 324, 367, 420, 421, 

423, 43 2 > 433. 435 
House, 278, 282, 285, 305, 309, 

3i°> 33 2 . 339. 34o, 341, 342, 
343, 344, 355, 357, 358, 406, 

House of Representatives, 338 

Household, 293 

Houston, Dr., 411, 426 

Howard, Charles, 304 

Howe, Captain, 22 

Howell, Mrs., 288 

Hudson River, 420 

Huger, General, 36 

Humour, 91 

Hunger, 141 

Hunter, General, 172, 204, 234 

Huntersville, 38, 39 

Huntsville, 428 

Hustings Court, 223 

Huston, Dr., 389 

Huttonsville, 39, 46 

Hymn, 81, 213 

Iliad, 211, 212, 214 
Immigrants, 306 
Impeachment, 313 
Imprisonment, 268 
Inauguration, 187 
Independence, 59, 66, 113, 131, 

144, I5 1 
Indictment, 20, 174, 175, 177, 

Infantry, 109, 137, 140, 147 
Infantry, incomparable, 106, 150 
Influence, 138, 162, 165, 281, 301 
Ingleside, 169 
Inspection, 107 
Institute, 240, 329 
Institution, 180, 245, 280, 281, 

294, 334, 335, 336, 3 6o > 369 
Instruction, 211 
Insurance Co., Southern Life, 

376, 377 
Insurgents, 22 
Intrenchments, 135, 136 
Interview, 226, 351 
Invaders, 39 
Invalid, 196, 380 
Investment, 294 
Invitation, 171, 210, 399 
Iowa, 321 
Irish (Federal) soldier, 158 

Irishman, 132, 159, 
Irishwoman, 351 
Islands, 57 

Jackson, General (of Georgia), 39 
Jackson, "Stonewall," 71, 72, 

73, 75, 7 6 > 77, 93- 94, 95, 124, 

216, 234, 272, 415 
Jackson's Division, 74 
Jacksonville, 398 
Jail, 300 
James River, 35, 53, 74, 83, 93, 

129, 130, 136, 145, 146, 155, 

194, 232, 271, 292, 401, 405 
James River Canal, 173, 195, 202 
Janney, John, 28, 351 
Java, The, 369 
Jefferson Barracks, 19 
Jenifer, Mr., 36 
John Brown's Raid, 21 
Johns, Bishop, 31, 350, 414 
Johns, John, 425 
Johnson, General Edward, 72 
Johnson, Hon. Reverdy, 27, 174, 

Johnson, Mr., 289, 306 
Johnson, President, 164, 228, 313, 

Johnston, Col. Wm. Preston, 254, 

287, 3 J 5, 3*7, 37 1 , 3 8o > 428, 

432, 434 
Johnston, Gen. Albert Sidney, ^6, 

254, 272 
Johnston, Gen. Joseph E., 71, 73, 

145, 156, 173, 390 
Johnston, Miss Maggie, 380, 383 
Johnston, Mrs. (General), 394 
Jones, Hon. Geo. W., 337 
Jones, Hon. Thos. Lawrence, 338 
Jones, Joe, 391 

Jones, Miss Ann Upshur, 335 
Jones, Miss Mary, 304, 358, 359, 

366, 367 
Jones, Mrs., 392 
Jones, Rev. Carter, 267 
Jones, Rev. J. W., 94, 105, 155, 

172, 425, 434 
Jordan, Miss Mattie, 193 
Jourdan, Miss Mollie, 430 
Joynes, Prof. E. S., 180, 281, 301 
Jump Mountain, 186 
Jury, 164, 174 
Justice, 300 

Kanawha, 39, 43 
Kanawha River, 52 
Kanawha Valley, 38, 48 
Kennaway, Mr., 227, 228 
Kennon, Mrs., 349 



Kennon, Mrs. Britannia, 190 

Kennon, Wm., 379 

Kennons, The, 176 

Kentucky, 64, 185, 321, 340, 382, 

Kepler, Mr., 364 
Kerr, Chas., 249 
King, James 

King George County, 55, 88, 356 
King William Battery, 166 
King William County, 160, 235, 

250, 406 
"Kinloch," 33, 35, 41, 44, 54 
Kirkland, Miss, 359 
Kirkland, Mrs., 134 
Kirkpatrick, Dr., 317 
Kirkpatrick, Mrs., 393 
Knoxville, 145 

Lady, 84, 88, 302, 384, 390 

Lady of the Lake, 10 

Language, 314 

Latin, 14, 316 

Lawton, General, 390, 393, 394, 

Lawton, Corinne, 394 
Lawton, Miss, 390 
Lawton, Mrs., 395 
Lawtons, The, 398 
Leader, 138 

"Leader of the herd," 369 
Learning, 210 
Leary, Wm. B., 415, 417 
Lectures, 249 
Lee, Agnes, 56, 57, 65, 83, 87, 91 

147, 174, 176, 178, 188, 192, 

I 93- I 95> x 97> z 99> 202, 2 °6, 

208, 242, 248, 255, 274, 277, 

278, 293, 304, 307, 309, 312, 

319, 320, 322, 323, 327, 329, 

345» 348, 352, 3 6 °- 3 62 , 3 8 °. 

381, 383, 385, 387, 388, 389, 

390, 391, 394, 395. 396, 397> 

398, 400, 401, 402, 403, 405, 

411, 412, 414, 418, 425, 426, 

429, 432, 440 
Lee, Annie, 56, 65, 79, 80, 81, 118, 
Lee, Captain, 10 

242, 287, 384, 385, 386, 390 
Lee, Cassius F., 350, 355, 387, 

396, 398, 414, 415, 418 
Lee, Cazenove, 415 
Lee, Charles Carter, 114, 155, 172, 

175, 258, 303 
Lee, Charlotte, 67, 117 
Lee, Col. R. E., 6, 19, 22, 24, 25 
Lee, Custis, 15, 16, 17, 22, 30, 31, 

32, 68, 79, 117, 134, 165, 169, 

Lee, Custis, continued — 

171, 173, 174, 176, 185, 186, 

187, 195, 202, 207, 209, 234, 

239, 240, 241, 246, 249, 259, 

274, 277, 283, 286, 287, 288, 

290, 292, 308, 313, 319, 320, 

3 2 3- 324, 3 2 7. 329. 334. 340, 

343. 346, 349- 352, 353» 354, 

358, 359, 3 6o > 3 6 3, 373» 374, 

381, 384, 385, 386, 391, 394, 

395, 396, 397, 399, 403, 411, 
415, 426, 427, 428, 430, 432, 

434, 437 
Lee, Dan, 159, 160 
Lee, Edwin Grey, 265, 431 
Lee, Fitz., 17, 113, 119, 120, 141, 

151, 155, 177, 259, 290, 350, 

35i, 352,355, 361, 367 
Lee, Fitzhugh, 35, 38, 40, 43, 45, 
50, 58, 59, 60, 87, 96, 97, 
100, 101, in, 139, 140, 176, 
177, 235, 237, 241, 246, 254, 
258, 278, 282, 283, 287, 288, 
290, 292, 302, 303, 305, 308, 
309, 312, 313, 314, 318, 322, 

3 26 , 333, 339, 34i, 343, 344, 
345, 358, 363, 364, 373, 377, 
383, 389, 399, 403, 424, 426, 
429, 433 

Lee, Mrs. Fitzhugh ("Tabb"), 
318, 319, 323, 327, 328, 329, 
330, 340, 343, 346, 354, 359- 
363, 366, 371, 377, 378, 379, 

383, 384, 399- 403, 411, 424, 
426, 427 

Lee, Gen. Harry, 60, 404 

Lee, Henry Carter, 113 

Lee, John, 77, 161 

Lee, John Mason, 113 

Lee, Mary, 22, 29, 31, 32, 33, 39, 
41, 43, 44, 48, 49, 5°, 53, 57, 58, 
60, 63, 64, 66, 68, 80, 81, 85, 
114, 198, 3°4, 3°7- 3°9> 3 I2 » 

327, 329, 346, 349, 3 6 i, 3 62 > 
367, 385, 386, 391, 395, 397, 
399, 403, 432 

Lee, Mildred ("Life") 41, 50, 55, 
87, 88, 133, 134, 139, 174, 
177, 192, 197, 207, 209, 242, 
243, 247, 249, 252, 255, 257, 
260, 265, 269, 270, 271, 286, 
288, 290, 293, 303, 304, 307, 
308, 311, 313, 319, 320, 321, 
322, 323, 327, 328, 329, 345, 
349, 358, 360, 362, 367, 378, 
379, 380, 384, 386, 391, 394, 
397, 399, 403, 405, 410, 425, 
403,405, 410, 425, 429, 430, 432 



Lee, Gen. Robert E., 6, 10, 19, 22, 
24, 25, 26, 28, 29, 32, 33, 34, 
52, 63, 66, 69, 71, 73, 74, 75, 
76, 77, 78, 80, 81, 82, 86, 88, 

93- 94, 95» I0 5, i° 6 , io 7, 115, 

116, 118, 119, 124, 125, 126, 
127, 129, 130, 132, 134, 135, 
136, 137, 138, 140, 144, 148, 
149, 150, 152, 153, 154, 155, 
*5 6 , iS7» J 5 8 , I 59, 166, 167, 
168, 171, 173, 174, 182, 183, 

198, 204, 212, 215, 216, 226, 
227, 229, 232, 234, 244, 245, 
266, 267, 271, 272, 274, 276, 
281, 284, 287, 288, 301, 315, 
316, 324, 329, 330, 332, 334, 
346, 347, 349, 35 1 , 35 2 , 3 6 4, 
3 6 5, 3 6 8, 37 2 , 373, 37 6 , 39 1 , 
394, 397, 4oo, 405, 408, 409, 
410, 415, 416, 435, 436, 438 

Lee, Gen. Robert E., Personal 

Reminiscences of, 172, 434 
Lee, Gen. W. H. F., 38, 81, 96, 

117, 161, 250, 286, 293 

Lee, R. E., 26, 27, 28, 29, 32, 33, 
34, 41, 42, 43, 4.4, 46, 47, 49, 51, 
5 2 > 54, 55, 5 6 > 57> 58, 60, 61,62, 
64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 72, 88, 93 

Lee, Mrs. Robert E., 134, 170, 245, 
269, 274, 291, 320, 325, 336, 

T 337, 33% „ T 

Lee, Robert E., Jr., 31, 39, 43, 49, 
50, 58, 61, 68, 75, 77, 79, 87, 
114, 119, 120, 139, 175, 177, 
186, 187, 193, 194, 195, 197, 

199, 201, 206, 249, 250, 253, 
254, 255, 261, 286, 288, 290, 
291, 292, 304, 309, 312, 314, 
3i9, 3 2 3, 3 26 > 3 28 > 3 2 9> 333^ 
345, 354, 359, 3 61 , 3 6 3, 3 6 4, 
379, 3 S 3^ 3 8 4, 399, 408, 411, 
424, 429, 432 

Lee, Mrs., R. E., Jr., 309 

Lee, Mrs. S. P., 265 

Lee, Mrs. S. S. ("Nannie"), 34, 

350, 361, 414, 419 
Lee, Stephen D., 76 
Lee, Sydney Smith, 4, 23, 25, 31, 

156, 244, 258, 328, 350, 351, 

35 2 ' 353, 35 6 > 3 6 i, 3 62 
Lee, Mrs. W. H. F., 365 
Leeds, Mr. and Mrs., 428 
Legacies, 192, 236 
Legislature, 163 
Legislature of Virginia, 208 
Leigh, Mrs. Chapman, 186 
Lemmon, George, 40 
Lemmon, Mrs., 422 

Lent, 317 

Letcher, Governor John, 47, 163, 
234, 267 

Letcher Mrs., 114, 266 

Letcher, Virginia Lee and Fannei, 

Letchers, The, 393 

Letters, 246, 247, 380 

Le Verts, The, 430 

Lewis, John, 323 

Lewis, Lawrence, 333 

Lewis, Mrs. Lorenzo, 42 

Lewisburg, 38, 49 

Lexington, 20, 21, 27, 83, 148, 
172, 179, 180, 182, 183, 184, 
185, 186, 187, 191, 192, 194, 
196, 201, 203, 204, 206, 208, 
209, 214, 223, 227, 232, 234, 

237^ 2 38, 240, 242, 244, 245, 
251, 255, 257, 261, 264, 266, 

2 73> 2 77» 2 78, 279, 285, 290, 

292, 294, 298, 304, 308, 310, 

312, 314, 317, 318, 320, 324, 

325, 329, 330, 332, 336, 346, 

347, 348, 351, 352, 354, 355, 

357, 3 6 °, 3 6 3, 3 6 4, 3 66 , 3^7, 
368, 369, 371, 374, 377, 381, 
3 82 , 383, 384, 386, 389, 390, 
396, 399, 401, 402, 403, 404, 
405, 410, 411, 412, 414, 418, 
419, 421, 423, 424, 426, 427, 
428, 429, 431, 432, 433 

Lexington Hotel, 186, 187 

Leyburn, Rev. G. W., 210 

Ley burn, Mr., 426 

Liberty, 209, 270, 272 

Liberty Hall Academy, 180 

Library, 180 

Lieutenant-colonelcy, 19 

"Life" (Mildred Lee), 41, 112, 
*33, 139, 177, 195, 202, 247, 
302, 345, 384 

Life (of Gen. R. E. Lee). 246 

"Light Horse Harry," 368, 404 

Lime, 257, 282, 305 

Lincoln, President, 27, 233 

Lines, 71 

Lippett, Miss Laura, 208 

Lippitt, Mrs., 4 

Literature, 248, 382 

Liverpool, 242, 369 

Lomaxes, The, 425 

London Standard, 149 

Long, General, 34, 115, 121, 126, 
137, 150, 152, 154, 154, 170 

Long, Prof. George, 214, 216 

Longstreet, General, 76, 127, 268, 

45 2 


Longstreet, Mrs., 269 

Loom, 112 

Loring, General, 39, 46, 48 

Lome, Marquis of, 244 

Loudoun, 104, 108 

Louisburg, 193 

Louisiana, 182 

Love, 138, 210, 247, 276, 289 

Lowe, Andrew, 390, 393, 395, 398 

"Lower Brandon," 401, 404 

Loyalty, 26, 277 

"Lucy Long," 84, 249, 250, 251, 

264, 266, 270, 271, 272, 357, 

371, 411, 43° 
Lumber, 340, 342 
Lyle, Colonel, 360 
Lynchburg, 145, 156, 157, 161, 

173, 190, 199, 202, 203, 238, 

29 8 > 3 I 3^ 346, 353. 354, 355> 
387, 411, 418 
"Lynwood," 253, 349 

Macfarland, Mr., 175, 411 
Machinery, 160 
Mackay, Messrs., 395 
Macmillan , s Magazine, 130 
Madison, Dr., 185, 188, 189, 399, 

Maffitt's Channel, 62 
Magnanimity, 53, 438 
Magruder, General, 71 
Mahone, General, 136, 288, 289, 

2 93 
Mahone, Mrs., 293 
Maize, Mrs., 422 
Malaria, 191 
Manassas, S3^ 37, 75. 7 6 > 8 3> io 3> 

no, 230, 416 
Manchester, 160 
Manners, 17, 185 
Manoeuvres, 75, 77 
Mansion, 170 

"Mansion House,". 350, 362, 414 
Manumission, 89, 90, 223 
Marcus Aurelius, Thoughts of, 215 
Marines, 22 
"Markie" (Mrs. Martha Custis 

Williams), 37, 40, 366, 367, 

403, 405, 406 
Marriage, 207, 302, 330 
"Marse Bob," 124, 276 
Marshall, Charles, 118, 138, 165 
Marshall, Chief Justice, 165, 435 
Marshall, Judge and Mrs., 5 
Marshall, Louis, 77 
Marshall, Mrs. Anne, 25 
Marshalls, The, 308 
Marshes, 63, 64, 66 

Maryland, 131, 132, 220, 243, 

2 47, 250, 304, 307, 312, 319, 416 
Mason, Captain, 76 
Mason, Rev. Mr., 422 
Mason, Senator, J. M., 414 
Matrimony, 283, 286 
May, Capt. James, 337 
Mayes, Miss, 368 
McCabe, W. Gordon, 124, 135 
McCaw, Dr., 389 
McClellan, General, 6, 71, 73, 74, 

230, 292, 415, 416 
McCullogh, General, 68 
McDonald, Wm. M., 102 
McDonough School, 428 
McDowell, General, 72, 73 
McElwee, Mrs., 248, 253 
Mcintosh, General, 68 
McKim, Mr. and Mrs., 23 
McKims, The, 308 
McKinley, President, 338 
McLaughlin, Judge, 347 
McLaws, General, 393 
Meade, Bishop, 18, 31, 67, 435 
Meade, General, 103, 104, no, 

115, 116, 118, 154 
Meade, Miss Susan, 382 
Measles, 41, 42, 195 
Mechanicsville, 415 
Medicine, 134, 238, 325, 326, 345, 

422, 437, 440 
Medicine, School of, 370 
Melville, Miss, 379 
Memoirs, 365 
Memoirs of the War of '76 in the 

Southern States, 368, 398 
Memoirs, Grant's, 128 
Mercer, Douglas, 40 
Mexican War, 3 

Mexico, 5, 8, 23, 167, 220, 221, 269 
Mexico, Emperor of, 163 
"Middle Brandon," 404 
Middle Mountain, 38 
Middleton, Mr., 432 
Milboro, 38, 42, 422 
Military Academy, n, 164, 165 
Military Commissioner, 300 
Militia, 108 
Milroy, General, 72 
Mine, 135 
Minis, Mr., 394 
Minor, Professor, 211 
Mississippi River, 6, 157 
Mobile, 276 
Mocking-birds, 293 
Molestation, 164 
Money, 160, 187 
Monongahela River, 39 



Monroe, Col. Grier, 267 
Monterey, 38, 39 
Montgomery, 34 
Monument, 80, 148, 242, 390, 391, 

Moorman, Mr., 381 
Morgan, Gen. John, 134 
Motley, Minister (to England), 

Motto, 305 

Mt. Vernon, 29, 59, 336, 354 
Mountaineers, 204 
Mountains, 248 
Mud, 44, 86 
Mule, 257, 282, 311 
Mumps, 373 
Munitions, 130, 144 
Murdock, Mrs., 402 
Musket, 107, 150, 154 
Mustang pony, 5 
Myers, Mrs., 240, 422 
"My Maryland," 393 
"Myrtle Grove," 249 

"Nannie" (Mrs. S. S. Lee), 32, 34 

Napoleon, 316 

Narrative, 219 

Narrows, 6 

National Cemeteries, 396 

National Museums, 337 

Natural Bridge, 240, 273 

Neale, Hamilton S., 323, 326, 327, 

Negro, 20, 57, 65, 168, 231, 299, 416 
Nelson, Mrs., 203 
Nelson, Professor, 203, 372 
Neuralgia, 399, 424 
Neutrality, 232 
New Berne, 68 
Newcastle, 166, 169 
New Kent County, 161, 250 
New Market, 234 
New Orleans, 269, 367, 390, 428 
Newspapers, 416 
New Year, 377, 381 
New York, 64, 207, 267, 293, 309, 

3*4. 334. 346, 3 68 - 376 
New York Herald, 351 
Nightingale, Mr., 60, 61, 398 
Ninth Virginia Cavalry, 81 
Nobleman (English), 170 
Norfolk, 31, 68, 164, 174, 207, 

208, 209, 277, 323, 381, 386, 

398, 399, 400, 401, 402, 403 ' 
Norris, Mrs. Richard, 256 
North, 121, 224, 225, 228, 229 

230, 231 
Northampton, 143 

Northampton County, 322, 323 
North Anna River, 127, 128 
North Carolina, 64, 68, 75, 80, 
87, 122, 130, 131,146, 333,379 
Northerners, 232 
Northern Neck, 86 
Northern papers, 135 
Northern States, 198 
Northern Virginia, Army of, 73, 

75- 77. 9 1 . 93. 95. io 5> Io6 . IIQ . 
115, 123, 124, 125, 126, 128, 
129, 138, 148, 149, 150, 153, 
154, 164, 165, 166, 175, 218, 
250, 265, 272, 348, 379, 391, 

North River, 208 
"North Wales," 99 
Norvel, Miss, 75 
Norwood, 379 
Nottingham, Mrs., 143 
Novels, 248 

"Oakland," 185, 196 

"Oakland," 171, 174 

Oath, 187 

Oats, 305 

Officer, 91, 94, 100, 105, 106, 121, 

158, 175, 201, 218, 250, 259 
Ohio River, 52 
Old Dominion, 52 
Old Guard, 225 
"Old Jack," 81 
Old Point, 22 

Old Sweet Springs, 276, 302 
Oliver, Dr., 306 
Olives, 61 
Operations, 37, 51, 52, 54, 66, 75, 

108, 121, 129, 154, 219, 220 
Opinion, 163 
Orange, 61, 8$, 264, 398 
Orange and Alexandria R.R., no 
Orange County, 75 
Orange Court House, 82, 109, 200 
Orange-grove, 61 
Orange-tree, 61, 65 
Ordinance of Secession, 26, 28 
Ordway, Lieut. -Col. Albert, 173 
Otter, Peaks of, 269, 270, 271 
Ould, Judge, 287 
Ould, Mrs., 383 
Outposts, 119 
Ovation, 347, 350 
Overcoat, 68, 104, in 
Owens, Mr., 394 
Owens, Mrs., 390 
Oxen, 340 
Oxford, 211 
Oysters, 209, 380, 381 



Packard, Rev. Dr., 350 
Page, Mrs., 402 
Page, Rev. Chas., 382 
Page, Richard, 402 
Pageant, 106 
Pains, 187 
Painter, 424 
Paintings, 354 
Palatka, 397, 398 
"Pampatike," 161, 166, 167 
Pamunkey River, 6, 66, 90, 
99, 166, 169, 190, 261, 310, 

3 12 . 34o, 359. 3 6 °> 404. 406, 

Papers, 44, 51, 135 
Paris, 211, 327, 328, 419 
Pardon, 164 
Parole, 157, 164, 165 
Parties, 253 
Passport, 173 
Patapsco Institute, 255 
Patapsco River, 10 
Patent Office, 337, 338 
Patrick, General, 173 
Patriotism, 106, 270 
Patriots, 225 
Paxton, Major, 250 
Pay, 30 
Peabody, George, 366, 367, 368, 

37o, 383 
Peabody Institute, 370 
Peace, 59, 163, 165, 181 
Peaks of Otter, 269, 270, 271 
Peale (artist), 354 
Peebles, Mrs., 291 
Pegram, Wm. Johnson, 124 
Pemberton, 171 
Pendleton, Colonel Edmund, 273, 

Pendleton, General, 151, 152, 200, 

Pendleton, Miss Mary, 274, 276, 

Pendleton, Misses, 381 
Pendleton, Mrs., 273 
Pendleton, Rev. Dr., 298 
Peninsula, 71, 72 
Pennsylvania, 83 
Perrin, Captain, 408 
" Personal Reminiscences of Gen. 

R. E. Lee," 105, 172, 434 
Peter, George Washington, 257, 

349. 4i3 
Peter, Mrs. Washington, 312 
Peter, Miss Helen, 314 
Peter, "Markie," 425 
Peters, The 
Peterkin, Bishop, 200 

Petersburg, 8^, 124, 129, 130, 132, 
1 33* 134, 139. x 45> 146, 148, 
149, 154, 219, 278, 284, 285, 
286, 288, 290, 291, 292, 293, 

3 6 4, 377. 379 
Petition, 396 
Pets, 249 
Peyton, Mr., 363 
Peyton, Miss, 352, 354 
Pharaoh, 31 
Philadelphia, 218, 255 
Phillips, Dr., 422 
Phillips, Rev. Mr., 409 
Phosphates, 340 
Photograph, 198, 206, 207, 208, 

353> 354, 37°, 405 
Physician, 384, 385, 399, 413, 436, 

Piano, 197, 203 
Picture, 304, 354 
Pictures and Plate of Mt. Vernon, 

Pillage, 57 
Pillagers, 88 

Pinckney, Mrs. Thos., 389 
Piping Tree, 166 
Plantation, 20, 57, 166, 232 
Plate, 336 
Plate and pictures of Mt. Vernon, 

Piatt, Rev. Mr., 135 
Poague, Captain, 78 
Pocahontas County, 38 
Podestad, Mrs., 349, 418, 424, 

427, 429 
Podestad, Mr., 427 
Poem, 212, 213 
Poet, 211, 215, 439 
Poetess, 203 
Politics, 268, 316 
Pollard, E. A., 246 
Pomeroy, Brick, 389 
Pontoons, 109, 136 

Pony. 5 

Poole, P., 370 

Poor, Major, 308 

Pope, General, 77 

Portrait, 19, 365, 366, 367, 368 

Port Royal Harbor, 55 

Posterity, 219 

Potomac River, 79, 85, 101, 

104, 108, in, 131, 244, 350, 

Potomac, Army of, 121, 122, 126, 

128, 130, 261 
Potomac, History of Army of, 150 
Powder, 146 
Powell, Mr., 54 



Powhatan County, 155, 175, 176, 
181, 303 

"Powhattie" (Mildred Lee, daugh- 
ter of Charles Carter Lee), 303, 

Pratt, Mrs., 369 
Prayer, 37, 105, 330 
Presbyterian Church, 248, 316 
Present, 285 
Preserves, 204 

Presidency, 172, 179, 181, 210, 280 
President, 66, 73, 181, 182, 184, 

187, 237, 280, 294, 295, 296, 

3 OI > 33 1 , 33 2 , 334, 335, 3 6 9, 

President Davis, 103, 105, 121, 

122, 133, 156, 157, 169 
President of Richmond Council, 

President of United States, 181, 

215, 334, 396 
President's House, 294 
Preston, Frank, 185, 360, 374 
Preston, Mrs. Margaret J., 185, 

Preston, Robert, 185, 325, 430 
Preston, T. L., 185, 262, 325, 374 
Price, General, 68 
Price, Mr., 279, 418 
Prince George County, 349 
Prison, 117, 120, 231 
Prisoner, 22, 47, 109, 147, 155, 

173, 224, 230, 231 
Private, 70, 71, 81 
Proclamation, 35, 164, 181 
Profession, 160 
Professor, 68, 180, 187, 245, 280, 

281, 294, 296, 298, 301, 335, 

3 6 9, 37 2 , 374, 3 82 
Promotion, 81 
Property, 327, 396 
Prosperity, 211, 221, 294 
Prosecution, 307 
Protection, 164 

Provisions, 51, 118, 122, 146, 230 
Provost Marshal, 160, 173, 224 
Publisher, 215, 228 
Punctuality, 1 2 

Quartermaster, 391 
Quartermaster-General, 103, 104 
Queen Victoria, 232 
Quintard, Dr., 49 

Radicals, 229 
Railroad, 341 
Rain, 42, 43, 47, 50, 52, 92 
Raleigh, 50, 392 

Ranchmen, 23 
Randell, Mr., 393 
Randolph, Edmund, 171 
Randolph, Mrs. George, 383 
Rapidan, 103, 115, 116, 118 
Rappahannock, 83, 84, 85, 87, 94, 
95, 96, 103, 104, 106, 108, 109, 
no, in, 112, 114, 115, 116 
Rations, 73, 93, 103, 119, 122, 

123, 152, 210 
Ravages, 96, 293 
" Ravensworth," 30, 32, 33, 34, 

349, 35o> 354, 3 6 i, 363, 3 6 7> 

414, 417, 418 
Reading Club, 248 
Rebecca, Cousin (Mrs. Tabb), 

407, 408, 409 
Rebel, 348 
Rebukes, 315 

Reception, 347, 350, 381, 388, 392 
Recollections, 56 
Reconstruction, 222, 228, 259, 299 
Records, 219, 247 
Recreation, 213 
Recruits, 121 
Redoubt, in 
Redress of grievances, 26 
Red Sweet Springs, 366 
Reed, Dr., 399 
Refugee, 143, 209 
Regiment, 21, 34, 38, 41, 58, 121, 

Reid, Colonel, 184, 186, 240, 253 
Reid, Hon. W. B., 218 
Reinforcements, 38, 130 
Relations, 166 
Relatives, 120, 244 
Relics, 59, 336, 338 
Religion, 105, 106, 335 
Reminiscences, 183 
Reminiscences, Personal, of Gen. 

R. E. Lee, 105, 172 
Reporter, 351 
Requier, A. J., 246 
Reserves, 130 
Resignation, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30, 

436, 440 
Resignation, letter of, 25 
Resolutions, 183 
Resources, 71, 211 
Respect, 276, 289, 332, 350, 434 
Responsibilities, 180, 181 
Restoration, 163 
Retreat, 53, 149, 150, 173 
Review, 106, 107, 115 
Revival, 105 
Revolution, 26 
Reynolds, General, 40 

45 6 


Rheumatism, 42, 50, 113, 114, 

141, 196, 325, 421, 434 
Richardson, Mr., 365, 367, 368 
Richardson, General, 402 
"Richland," 350, 355, 356, 367 
Richmond, 6, 28, 29, 31, 34, 35, 
36, 38, 39, 41, 42, 5°, 5 2 , 53, 54, 
55, 56, 59, 66 , 6 7, 7o, 72, 73, 74, 
75, 77, 8 3> 8 4, 87, 90, 92, 93, 94, 
97, 98, 102, 103, 107, 108, 109, 
112, 116, 117, 122, 123, 124, 
130, 131, 140, 145, 146, 148, 

149, J 54, i55, 1 S 6 > 157, i5 8 , 
160, 161, 162, 164, 165, 169, 
170, 171, 173, 174, 175, 177, 
189, 190, 194, 200, 206, 208, 
216, 219, 220, 223, 224, 231, 
241, 256, 261, 286, 288, 289, 
291, 292, 304, 305, 307, 310, 
311, 312, 313, 321, 327, 341, 
35o, 352, 3 6 3> 3 6 4, 3 6 5, 378, 
379, 380, 381, 382, 385, 386, 
388, 391, 396, 399, 401, 402, 
404, 405, 407, 410, 415 

Richmond," "On to, 129 

"Richmond" (horse), 42, 84 

Rich Mountains, 39 

Ridgely, Mr. and Mrs. Chas., 366 

Rifle-guns, 76 

Rights, 164, 191 

Rio Grande, 23 

Ritchie, George, 327 

Ritchie, Miss Jennie (Virginia), 
403, 404 

" Riversdale," 356 

Rives, Wm. C, 33 

Roads, 47, 51, 52, 108, 119 

Roanoke, 145 

Rockbridge, 427 

Rockbridge Alum Springs, 278, 279 

Rockbridge Artillery, 70, 78 

Rockbridge Baths, 185, 237, 359, 
360, 364, 365, 371, 372 

Rockbridge County, 346 

Rollins, Mr., 11 

Romances, 248 

" Romancoke," 223, 236, 285, 
3°4, 3°9, 3 12 , 3 6 4, 4©6, 408 

Rosecrans, General, 48 

Ross, Major, 44 

Rosser, Gen. T. H., 156, 167 

Rowanty Creek, 139 

Russell, Miss, 393 

Saddle, 83, 84 
St. John's River, 397, 398 
St. Louis, 39, 84, 239 
St. Paul's Church, 347 

St. Peter's Church, 364, 401 

St. Petersburg, United States 

Minister at, 340 
Salem, 346, 430 
Salisbury (N. C), 392 
San Antonio, 23 
Sanderson, Colonel, 398 
"Santa Anna," 5, 6, 11 
Saratoga, 433 
Saunders, Herbert C, 226, 227, 

Savannah, 54, 55, 56, 61, 62, 63, 
' 64, 65, 144, 385, 386, 389, 390, 

392, 393, 395, 39 6 , 397, 4°o, 

402, 404, 421 
Savannah River, 66 
Sawyer, John and James, 90 
Scarcity, 134 
gcenery 38 39, 185,373 
Schofield, General, 146 
School, 14, 55, 69, 179, 210, 211, 

School of Commerce, 369 
School of Medicine, 370 
Scholar, 215 
Science, 382 
Scotch, 306 
Scotland, 306 

Scott, General, 24, 27, 28, 147 
Scouts, 88 
Secession, 27, 233 
Secession, Ordinance of, 26 
Secession of Texas, 24 
Secession of Virginia, 24 
Second Cavalry, 19, 158 
Second Virginia regiment, 431 
Secretary, 165 
Secretary of War, 22, 103, 104, 

121, 145 
Secretary of War (C. S. A.), 422, 

Seddon, Hon. Jas. A., Secretary 

of War, C. S. A., 104 
Selden, Doctor, 209, 401 
Selden, Miss Etta, 243 
Selden, Misses, 419 
Selden, Mrs., 401, 402 
Seldens, The, 209, 403 
Self-control, 407 
Seminary, 355 
Seminary Hill, 350, 414, 417 
Senate of United States, debate 

in, 27 
Sentinels, 22 
Sentiments, 223 
Serenade, 393 
Servants, 33, 34, 89, 100, 157, 161, 




Services, 26, 181 

Settlers, 20 

Seven Days' fighting, 73, 83 

Seven Pines, 73 

Severity, 172 

Sewanee, 179, 182 

Sewell's Mountains, 48 

Shad, 310 

Sharpsburg, 77, 79, 83, 132, 233 

Shaw, Mrs., 61 

Shells, 133, 134, 135 

Shenandoah River, 108 

Shenandoah Valley, 173, 234 

Sheridan, General, 124, 145, 147, 

Sherman, General, 144, 145, 173 
Sherod, Dr. and Miss, 193 
Shiloh, 254 
Shingles, 342 

Shipp, Colonel, 234, 324, 325, 360 
Shippen, Mrs., 133 
Ships, 57 

Shirley, Captain, 403 
"Shirley," 53, 54, 232, 292, 313, 

398, 401, 402, 403, 404, 405 
Shirt, 75 

Shoes, 103, 104, in, 113 
Sickness, 39, 42, 43, 52, 74, 284, 

Sidewalks, 206 
Sidney, 215 

Siege, 130, 148, 284, 289 
Silver, 204, 335 
Simpkins, John, 323 
Sitting for picture, 19 
Sivent, Mrs. and Miss, 422 
Skinker, Miss Rose, 197 
Skirmishing, 44, no 
Slack, General, 68 
Slaughter, 128 
Slavery, 231, 232 
Slaves, 89, 232, 236 
Sledge, Mr., 428 
Sledge, Mrs., 423, 428 
Smith, Francis L., 414 
Smith, General, 187, 426 
Smith, Mr., 396, 418 
Smith, Mrs., 420 
Smiths, The, 387 
Smith's Island, 236, 322, 323, 

326, 327, 328, 339, 341, 343, 

„ 353, 378 

Snow, 93, 104 

Soap, 75, 143 

Socks, 42, 49, 50, hi, 112, 141, 

146, 147 
Sociability, 248 
Society, Virginia Historical, 157 

Soldier, 114, 158, 162, 215, 216, 

27.1, 37 2 > 409, 4i7 
Soldiers, 39, 105, 112, 124, 125, 

i3 8 > 141, i54, 158, 172, 175- 
184, 219, 276, 289, 315, 388, 
390, 392, 393, 420 

Soldiery, 180 

Sollers Point, 10 

Sorrow, 293 

South, 26, 158, 164, 165, 168, 169, 
183, 198, 210, 213, 216, 219, 
221, 223, 225, 228, 229, 230, 
232, 233, 259, 326, 331, 376, 
420, 434 _ 

South Carolina, 52, 53, 54, 389 

Southern Life Insurance Co., 376, 

Southern Road, 400 
Southern States, 222, 227 
Southside & Danville Railroad, 

x 45 

Spanish Legation, 349 

Spinning-wheel, 112 

Spiritualist, 316 

Sport, 13 

Spottswood, 31, 68 

Spottsylvania, 83 

Spottsylvania Court House, 83, 
124, 125 

Spurs, 114 

Staff, 76, 81, 84, 107, 391 

Stage-coaches, 274 

Stanard, Hugh, 291 

Stanard, Mrs. Robert, 31, 291 

Standard, London, 149, 215 

Stanton, Secretary of War, 172 

State, 170, 183, 210, 374, 375 

States, 162, 163 

Statesmen, 158 

Staten Island, 6 

Statistics, 220 

Statue, 216 

Staunton, ^8, 39, 40, 42, 131, 147, 
208, 209, 251, 256, 261, 329, 
33°, 346, 347, 352, 3 8 7> 422, 
426, 427, 428, 431, 432 

Stephens, Hon. Alex. H., 75 

Stewart, John, 170, 279, 389 

Stewart, Mrs. John, 169 

Stewart, Miss Marian, 279 

Stewart, Miss Mary, 279, 389 

Stieff (piano-maker), 203 

Stigma, 230 

Stiles, Kitty, 391 

Stock, 160 

Stoneman, 145 

"Stonewall Brigade," 431 

Storm, 45, 46, 62, 92 



Strangers, 244 

"Stratford," 55, 56, 59 

Stribbling, Miss, 261 

Strickler, G. B., 300 

Strickler, Mr., 381 

Struggle, 37, 150 

Stuart, Chas., 355 

Stuart, Dr. Richard, 57, 356 

Stuart, Gen. J. E. B., 96, 124, 125, 
250, 251 

Stuart, Margaret, 92, 123 

Stuart, Mrs. Richard, 57, 368 

Stuarts, The, 367 

Student, 68, 69, 180, 187, 205, 
245. 253, 254, 262, 280, 281, 
294, 295, 298, 299, 300, 301, 
308, 314, 315, 329, 331, 332, 

369* 375. 38i» 383 
Studies, 69, 295, 329 
Study, 281 
Subjugation, 151 
Submission, 164, 165, 18 r 
Subordinates, 52 
Success, 75 
Suffering, 87, 88, 91, in, 224, 


Suggestions, 71 

Sullivan's Island, 62 

Superintendent, 15, 17, 19, 206 

Superintendent of Military Acad- 
emy at West Point, n 

Superstition, 115 

Supervision, 71, 181 

Supplies, 119, 144, 149 

Supreme Court, 396 

Surgeons, 101 

Surratt, Mrs., 172 

Surrender, 130, 146, 148, 151, 152, 

J 54, i55» 156, i57» 164, 165, 

169, 170, 218, 233, 391 
Sweet Springs, 304, 319, 424 
Swift Run Gap, 72 
Swimming, 13 
Swinton (historian), 126, 128, 

150, 261 
Sword, 26, 27, 29, 53, 81, 84, 148, 

Sympathies, 171 
Sympathy, 55 

Tabb, Dr. Prosser, 407, 409 

Tabb, Mrs., 407, 410 

Tact, 295 

Tagart, Mr., 348, 432 

Tagart, Mr. and Mrs., 347, 349, 

412, 413 
Tagart, Mrs., 413, 433 
Tagarts, The, 308 

Taliaferro, Gen. Wm. B., 23 

Taliaferro, Mrs., 355 

Tardy, Misses, 424 

Tardys, The, 422 

Tate, Mrs., 422 

Tattnall, Capt. Josiah, 163 

Taylor, Captain, 40 

Taylor, Colonel, 51, 155, 209 

Taylor, Col. Walter H., 127, 129, 

Taylor, Erasmus, 109 
Taylor, George, 432 
Taylor, Jeremy, 207 
Taylor, Mrs., 314, 374 
Teacher, 281, 417 
Teachers of Virginia, Convention 

of, 360 
Tears, 153 
Tennessee, 64 
Tent, 46, 85, in, 155 
Tenth Virginia Infantry, 74 
Testimony, 222 
Texas, 19, 21, 23, 24 
Text-books, 211 
Thanks, 213, 277, 338 
Theological Seminary, 356 
Third Army Corps, 106 
Thirteenth Virginia Cavalry, 

Thirty- third Virginia Regiment, 

Thorn, Mr., 425 
Thornton's Gap, 108, 109 
Tiffany, Henry, 40 
Times, New York, 220 
Timothy, 40 
Title, 396 

Topham, Joseph, 221 
Translation, 211, 213, 214, 215 
"Traveller," 76, 8^, 84, 106, 107, 

127, 147, 155, 166, 167, 169, 

171, 172, 175, 176, 183, 185, 
193, 203, 238, 242, 249, 264, 
265, 266, 269, 271, 272, 274, 
2 75> 2 77> 278, 290, 311, 329,, 
33o, 357> 37i» 372, 373, 374. 
404, 411, 426, 430, 437 

Treason, 164, 174 

Trenches, 45, 135, 136 

Trent, Prof. Wm. P., 52 

Trent Affair, The, 59 

Trial, 164, 174, 287, 304, 306, 

3°9» 3 I2 » 3*3 
Tribute, 212, 218 
Triflers, 295 
Triplett, Mrs., 291 
Troops, 22, 34, 35, 36, 103 122 

172, 173, 220, 231, 270 



Troops, United States, 32 

Troops, Virginia, 23 

Troy, 213 

Truce, 29 

Trunk, 50 

Trust, 182 

Trustees, 184, 187, 294, 335 

Trustees, Board of, Washington 

College, 179, 181, 185, 186, 208, 

336, 435 
"Tudor Place," 190, 349 
Tulane University, 428 
Tunstall's, 405 
Turbeville, 355 
"Turnbulls'," 289 
Turner, Beverly, 44, 54, 197 
Turner, Colonel, 425, 432 
Turner, Edward, 35, 41, 44 
Turner, Mr., 426 
Tutweiler, H., 216 
Tygart's River, 39 
Tyndall, Mrs., 23 
Typhoid fever, 321, 322 

Undergraduates, 313 
Uniform, 17, 74, 137, 139, 150 
Union, 225 

United States, 228, 233, 334 
United States Armory, 22 
United States Army, 159, 165 
United States Engineers, 401 
United States Government, 164 
United States Military Academy, 

United States Minister at St. 

Petersburg, 340 
UnitedStates Provost Marshal, 160 
University, 32, 39, 69, 354 
University Monthly, 281, 301 
University professors, 68 
University Publishing Co., 398 
University Students, 68 
University of the South, 179, 182 
University of Virginia, 44, 179, 

3i9> 3 6 ° 
"Upper Brandon,' 401, 404 

Valley Campaign, 172 

Valley Mountain, 39, 49 

Valley Railroad Co., 345, 346, 

426, 427, 433 
Valley River, 44, 46 
Valley of Virginia, 71, 73, 147, 

179, 204 
Valley, The, 108, 145, 218, 220 
Vandals, 57 
Van Dorn, General, 68 
Vanmeter, Mr., 425 

Vegetables, 109, 133 

Venable, Colonel, 151 

Vera Cruz, 5, 8 

Verses, 212 

Vessels, 62, 66 

Veterans, 153, 154 

Vest, Mr., 36 

Vice-chancellorship , 179 

Vice-President Alex. H. Stephens, 

Victoria, Queen, 232 
Victory, 74, 75, 87, 93, 94, 138, 

150, 232, 233 
Violets, 57 
"Violet Bank," 133 
Virginia, 24, 26, 29, 36, 42, 48, 
51, 71, 78, 79, 83, 97, 108, 121, 
122, 131, 157, 160, 162, 167, 
168, 182, 198, 213, 216, 221, 
23 1 * 2 33> 2 54, 270, 279, 299, 
346, 400, 408, 410 
Virginia, Governor of, 46 
Virginia Cavalry, 9th, 81 
Virginia Cavalry, 13th, 119 
Virginia Central R.R., 38 
Virginia Convention, 28, 351 
Virginia Historical Society, 157 
Virginia Infantry, 10th, 74 
Virginia Legislature, 208 
Virginia Military Institute, 186, 
187, 204, 206, 234, 240, 245, 
262, 298, 324, 352, 374, 381, 

383, 393, 424 

Virginia & Tennessee R.R., 38 
Virginian, 232 
Virginians, 410 
Visitors, 243, 245, 314 
Volunteers, 31 
Von Moltke, 316 

Wagner, Captain, 299, 300 
Walker, Mr., 31 

Walker, Mrs., no, 422, 424, 429 
War, 29, 178, 200, 219, 223, 232, 

236, 287, 292, 415, 420 
War Department, 172, 219 
Warm Springs, 38, 241, 242, 313, 

318, 319, 320, 322, 422 
Warrenton, 390, 391, 425 
Warrenton Springs (N. C), 241, 

384, 386 

Warren White Sulphur Springs, 80 
Warren County (N. C), 81 
Warriors, 153^ 
Warwick, Agries, 113 
Warwick, Mr., 206, 208 
Warwick, Sally, 113, 194, 195, 
199, 206, 207, 308 



Washington, 24, 25, 74, 108, 123, 
131, 174, 222, 223, 231, 232, 
274, 3 2I > 33 6 > 33 8 , 346, 348, 
349, 413, 415, 416, 432 

Washington, General, 179, 232 
33o, 336, 337. 338, 35o, 353. 
354, 3 6 4 

Washington, Mrs. General, 18, 

Washington, Col. John Augustm, 

40, 45, 47, 49 
Washington, Miss Lou, 41 
Washington, William, 424, 426, 


Washington College, 20, 172, 179, 
180, 181, 182, 183, 184, 187, 
205, 208, 210, 234, 237, 254, 
281, 300, 334, 335, 336, 340, 
360, 369, 374, 376, 377, 381, 
428, 434, 435 

Washington Society, the, 256 

Washington and Lee University, 

Washington Star, 309 

Watermelon, 276 

Watkins, Captain, 176 

Waynesboro, 186 

Weather, 92, 104, 197 

Webb, Mr., 381 

Wedding, 193, 197, 199, 207, 284, 
285, 286, 287, 289, 290, 302, 

318, 333, 343, 379 
Weir, Prof. R. S., 19 
Welcome, 289 
Wellington, 316 
West, Mr., 340, 341 
West, Miss, 422 
West Indies, 60, 61 
West Point, 11, 14, 17, 19, 21, 40, 

165, 183, 206, 250, 268, 277, 

306, 326, 341, 408, 410 
West Point Military Academy, 

West River, 414 
West Virginia, 37, 38, 55 
Western Army, 416 
Wheat, 176, 191, 243, 305, 308, 

310, 311, 328, 333, 340, 353, 

3 6 3 
Wheel-chair, 196 
Wheeler & Baker, 298 
Wheeling, 6 
White, Captain (Professor), 184, 

187, 274, 372, 421, 424, 427 
White, Colonel, 425, 426 
White, Mr. Henry, 420 
White. Mr. and Mrs., 391 
White, Mrs., 248, 253 

White, Professor (Captain), 184, 
187, 274, 372, 421, 424, 427 

White, Rev. W. S., 187 

"White House," 6, 35, 50, 53, 66, 
67, 90, 99, 161, 167, 174, 190, 
191, 223, 235, 236, 250, 261, 
277, 285, 286, 290, 291, 304, 
308, 311, 312, 325, 327, 340, 
341, 345, 363, 371, 373, 397, 
398, 400, 401, 402, 403, 404, 
405, 406, 407, 410, 411, 414, 

"White Marsh," 407, 408 

White Sulphur Springs, 81, 82, 
239, 241, 260, 269, 274, 276, 
284, 304, 319, 320, 321, 322, 
3 2 4, 347, 359, 3 6 °, 3 6 5, 3 68 , 
37°, 393, 424, 427, 43°, 43 2 

Whittle, Bishop, 352, 353 

Wickham, Miss, 358, 359, 360 

Wickham, Annie, 365 

Wickham, Mr., 99, 288, 333 

Wickham, Mrs., 98 

Wickham, General, 161 

Wickham, W. F., 97 

Wickham, Williams, 287 

Wife, 235, 242, 278, 282, 

Wilderness, 83, 124, 126, 127, 129, 

Wilkins, Mr., 382 

Wilkinson, Captain, 199 

Will, 89, 236 

Williams, Martha Custis ("Mar- 
kie"), 37, 367, 411 

Williams, Grubb &, 333 

William and Mary College, 360, 374 

Williamson, Miss, 197, 199 

Williamson, Colonel, 418 

Williamsport, 101 

Wilmer, Bishop, 182 

Wilmer, Dr., 186 

Wilmington, 400, 403 

Winchester, 55, 79, 193, 371 

Winter, 91, 93 

Winter quarters, 115, 118 

Wirz, 230, 231 

Wise, General, 38, 39, 48 

Wise, Miss Nannie, 382 

Witness, 304 

Wives, 112 

Wolseley, Lord, 130 

Women, 86 

Wood, Col. John Taylor, 157 

Wood, John, 288 

Work, 56 

Worries, 187 

Worsley, Philip Stanhope, 211, 
213, 214 



Wound, 98, 137 
Wreath, 367 
Wright, Mr., 393* 

Yankee, 57, 233, 267 
Yarn, 113 
"Yearling," 369 

Yellow Tavern, 124 
York River, 35, 407, 408 
York River R. R., 277 
Yorktown, 128 

Young Men's Christian Associa- 
tion, 263, 300 
Youth, 210 






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Recollections and letters of General Rob